Durkheim-Sociological Issues Surrounding Suicide

2023 Words9 Pages
Emile Durkheim was one of the most influential people to write about suicide and its causes. Suicide had previously been thought to be a moral and psychological problem whereas Durkheim related suicide to sociological problems in modern society. He believed and worked to prove that suicide was not related to individualism but linked to the effects of the external influences of modern society. External social influences upon an individual covered the broad and varied aspects such as culture, religion and family. Durkheim believed that suicide was directly related to the level of social integration and/or regulation of a person in society. He developed groups into which an individual was categorised according to their level of integration…show more content…
These influences all proved to be important variables but there were contradictions. Still, he needed to categorize incidents of suicide into groups. Durkheim proceeded to distinguish suicide into four different groups that related to the individual’s integration into society and in turn the social regulation of society over its members. ‘Consequently, we shall be able to determine the social types of suicide by classifying them not directly by their preliminarily described characteristics, but by the causes which produce them…. We will first seek the social conditions responsible for them; then group these conditions in a number of separate classes by their resemblances and differences, and we shall be sure that a specific type of suicide will correspond to each of these classes.’ (Durkheim, 1897) The four suicide groups were identified as Egotistic, Anomic, Altruistic and Fatalistic. Although the four groups are varying in their relevance today due to the many changes in society since Durkheim first named them, they are still strongly recognizable in modern society. Egoistic Suicide relates to the degree of social interaction and the strength of mutual values within a social group. Some of the variables
Open Document