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
The act of intentionally killing oneself, also known as suicide, has often been referred to as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The great social theorist, Emile Durkheim, once stated that, “Each victim of suicide gives his act a personal stamp which expresses his temperament, the special conditions in which he is involved, and which, consequently, cannot be explained by the social and general causes of the phenomenon.” (Durkheim). This social phenomenon was studied and scientifically researched by Durkheim in order to discover and break the social causes and theories that allowed for its existence. While suicide is an uncomfortable subject to discuss, it has become extremely prevalent in all cultures and society- we have yet to escape this social issue. Although suicide affects those of all ages, the rates of suicide amongst the youth and young adults (aged 15-24) have nearly tripled in the past half century. Has this epidemic increased due to social media? Is it just a “trend” amongst this generation? Were Durkheim’s theories on the subject correct? These are just a few of the many questions that arise when considering the increasing rates of suicide among today’s youth. This research paper will examine the definitions and types of suicide in Durkheim’s studies, the current suicide rates and statistics, and most importantly, the contributing factors of suicidal tendencies in today’s world of youth and adolescents.
Canada in a Youth Suicide Crisis Situation The idea of youth committing suicide mystifies our societal logic. We do not understand the reasons why youth -normally associated with energy, determination and possibilities- turn to such a final act as a solution. Suicide eventually enters all of our lives, either directly
The interpretivist approach directly contrasts the positivist one and seeks to focus on the meanings of suicide for those involved. Douglas criticises Durkheim's use of official statistics as they are not accurate and recommends qualitative studies to discover the real rate of suicide. The statistics are a result of a coroners label and thus it is not trustworthy in his view. This suggested that cases are decided on "the basis of probability”. Douglas further seeks to find out the meaning of the suicide
The importance of social factors over the individual can also be seen in Durkheim’s work on suicide (Stones, 2008). Suicide was explained in terms of two independent variables, integration in society and regulation by society. Low levels of integration led to egoistic suicide, while low levels of regulation led to anomic suicide. Durkheim cited egoism and anomie as the main causes of suicide in the modern world; a world which he believed showed less interaction and people thinking more about themselves than others. As a result, people are less bound to one another, there is less community and social control is weaker (Stones, 2008). Durkheim applied his
The poem “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” by Amiri Baraka uses vivid images of sights, sounds, and daily activities to symbolize a heartfelt story. In the poem, Amiri, is one of the African American slaves who is frustrated about the discriminatory treatment by whites. So frustrated he wants
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess different sociological explanations of suicide. (21 marks)
Durkheim’s theories and work on suicide classified the phenomenon into four types; Egoistic, Altruistic, Anomic and Fatalistic (Ritzer Pg 200-202). Durkheim’s concept of social integration ties into egoistic suicide as it
Although no incidences of suicide were referenced in the article, this increased interaction could lead to an increase in both egoistic and altruistic suicide. Durkheim’s theory on anomic suicide states: “People are more likely to kill themselves when they do not know what is expected of them, when regulation is low, and they are largely free to run wild. This mad pursuit is likely to prove unsatisfying and, as a
Durkheim went into detail about three-suicide types: anomic, altruistic, and egotistic. Anomic suicide makes individuals feel lost or alone in society. For example teen suicide, the teen cannot relate to another individual. Altruistic suicide is based on excessive regulations of individuals by social force. For example political or social pressure makes and individual feel disconnected with society or themselves. Egotistic suicide is a total detachment from society. He argues that suicide is a social factor. The social factors he argues are social surroundings and whether the individual is integrated in social structure. He does state as well does Mills that men have a higher rate of suicide than woman do. Mills believed that men were unable to make the connection between social and individual life. Durkheim and Mills both have different perspectives however they both believed that our society and individuals needed to make a connection in order to
Susanna Kaysen once said, “Suicide is a form of murder - premeditated murder…you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.” Being the 10th leading cause of death in the world, Suicide is a serious public health problem that many people know about but will never fully understand. The never-ending question tied to this phenomenon is what can cause a person to take his or her own lives. With the help of Emile Durkheim’s theory I can finally somewhat understand that it is not just an individual factor but also based on the society around the individual.
The first sociologist to research into suicide was Ėmile Durkheim; he “wished to show that sociological factors were ‘capable of explaining much about such anti-social phenomena’” (Gingrich). Durkheim’s research allowed for him to understand how society connected to the rates of suicide and, more detailed, the importance of social integration on the rates of suicide across the country. He found a correlation between the rates of suicide and the seasons because the amount of social interactions increased as the seasons became longer and people were more likely to interact with the more accommodating temperatures (Gingrich). His views on suicide can all relate back to the degree to which society plays a role in one’s life due to the amount of interactions one has with society and the regulations that society imposes on the individual (Gingrich). Along with this view Durkheim also created four different reasons for committing suicide. The first type of suicide is egoistic suicide is when social integration in very limited, and people have the feeling of being normless. Next is altruistic suicide where societal pressures were too great and where suicide is forced upon a person, like the ritual suicides found in Japan that will be discussed later in this text. Anomic suicide is when there is a change in society, and the norms and
Suicide, to Durkheim, is “an exaggerated form of ordinary practices,” and they arise from “comparable states of mind” in people, with the only difference between daily and suicidal behavior being the “chance of death” (Durkheim 20-21). Durkheim spends the majority of the work dissecting the “apparent motives” for suicide (Durkheim 151) and observing the varieties of suicide, a feat made difficult by the inaccurate reporting and misunderstandings of investigators. Thus, to understand the types of suicide, we must “reverse the order of our research” for “There can only be as many different types of suicide as there are differences in the causes from which they derive,” (Durkheim 149). He says “if they were all found to have the same essential characteristics, they would be grouped in one class” but “observations that we would need to have are more or less impossible obtain” (Durkheim
The existence of too much and too little integration and regulation results in different suicides such as egotistic and anomie. Egoistic suicide happens when individuals are integrated too little (such as elderlies), there is excessive individualism, which is low social integration. Individuals who do decide to commit egoistic suicide are just not strongly supported by their peers in a unified social group. On the other hand, anomie suicide is committed once the person’s sense of perseverance is lost and individuals not being connected to the society. The circumstance of uncertainty results from the breakdown of morals and values and from the lack of ambition and
Durkheim was a functionalist, and theorised that a holistic social narrative could be identified which would explain individual behaviour. He argued that, whilst society was made up of its members, it was greater than the sum of its parts, and was an external pressure that determined the behaviour of the individuals within it. At that time, suicide rates in Europe were rising, and so the causes of suicide were on the agenda. Since suicide is seen as an intrinsically personal and individual action, establishing it as having societal causes would be a strong defence for Durkheim’s functionalist perspective. Durkheim used the comparative method to study the official suicide rates of various European countries. While he was not the first to