Durkheim & Deviance

1938 Words8 Pages
Assignment Question: Assess Durkheim’s contribution to our understanding of suicide. This essay will explore the sociological contributions provided by functionalist Emile Durkheim, the ideas he posited and the criticisms both internal and external that were prompted by his theory of suicide. Suicide is undeniably one of the most personal actions an individual can take upon oneself and yet it has a deep social impact. Could this be because social relationships play such an important role in its causation? In a sociological study Emile Durkheim produced his theory of suicide, and its relationship with society. Or when written more precisely, his theory was about society, and its relationship with suicide. Durkheim proposed this…show more content…
When an individual is too heavily integrated into the society, suicide will be committed regardless of their own hesitation if society 's norms have requested it. Anomie refers to when there is a low level of social regulation between society 's norms and the individual.Suicide in this cae occurs when the norms and values of society are not the same as those held by the individual. Durkheim believed that since the individual does not identify with the norms of the society, suicide seems to be a way to escape them. Fatalism is a state opposite to anomie as it refers to when the individual is highly socially regulated; the high level of discipline and oppression means there is very little hope for change. Durkheim believed that the individual will commit suicide as a way of escaping the society. (Gingrich, 1999) Durkheim’s findings suggested that suicide rates vary between societies but do show regular patterns over time. He concluded that this was evidence that there are consistent social forces that influence the rate of suicide in society. In sum, Durkheim believed that for society to maintain a state of equilibrium there needs to be an appropriate degree of integration and regulation; a consequence of any imbalance is an increased rate of suicide. However, despite Durkheim’s study of society being viewed by many as a classic, it has been met
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