For instance, a person who joins a new organization is confronted with customs and norms that he or she may not fully understand or appreciate. Such social facts exert a constraint over the individual. Using the above example, if the individual did not conform to the customs and norms of the new organization it would preclude the individual gaining access as a member. Durkheim theorized that social facts are general and widespread throughout society: "No less a thinker than Emile Durkheim exhibits a . . . tendency to assume that any belief which arises in a particular culture or at a particular time must of necessity be socially produced" (Laudan, 1977, p. 212).
Of all the social facts identified and discussed by Durkheim, the most central was the concept of social solidarity. Closely related terms are social integration and social cohesion. Solidarity refers to a state of relationships between individuals and/or groups based on shared moral sentiments and beliefs reinforced by common emotional experiences.
The social conflict paradigm is concerned with social change. This paradigm evolved from philosopher Karl Marx's concern with Europe's social problems: "In 1864 [Marx and other revolutionaries] organized the International Workingmen's Association in order to spread the doctrines of the Communist Manifesto