Paper Proposal: Sociological Theories of Suicide
Introduction Suicide is the act of killing yourself. It is the 11th leading cause of death in America (CDC 2009). I have never had any intentions on committing suicide and I never really understood why people commit suicide that’s why I chose this topic to help me understand what problems people go through that makes them do such a thing. Sociology is the study of social behavior and the culture of humans. There are numerous reasons like financial stress, family problems or mental health disorders that lead to suicide. The number one cause of suicide is untreated depression. The issues that were just listed are some social conditions from society that results in a suicidal …show more content…
Durkheim was very famous for his study of suicide. He defined the four types of suicide and supported his theory that changes in nonmaterial social facts cause differences in suicide rates. Durkheim’s theory consisted of finding a problem which was suicide. He then came up with a dependent variable which was the suicide rate. The social forces became the independent variable. The hypothesis would be what the suicide rate would vary with. When he collected his date Durkheim would go into detail about each individuals life and any uprising problems that he could find. He would then analyze the data into four categories which are the three most common types of suicide (egoistic suicide, altruistic suicide and anomic suicide). After looking at the date and matching it up with the proper suicide type Durkheim would then draw conclusions or form a theory. These are the details of the three most common suicides. Egoistic suicide is committed by people who are weak and supported by membership in a cohesive social group. They start to depend a huge amount on themselves than on group goals and rules of conduct to sustain them in their lives. When stressful times are around they feel isolated and helpless. Altruistic suicide is committed by people who are extremely committed to group norms and objectives and who notice their own lives as insignificant. These suicides involved dying for some type of cause. Anomic
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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
Egoistic suicide which is when individuals are not integrated well enough into society for example people who live alone compared to those who live with family. Secondly Altruistic suicide which is when individuals are felt to be too integrated into society causing suicide, for example members of the armed forces were said to have greater suicide rates than civilian personnel as they were too strongly integrated into a united body. Durkheim also put forward the idea of Anomic suicide, this is when the norms and values in society become unclear or confused in times of great social change and an individual is not taught to adapt to changes well enough. For example an unexpected death of a family member is sudden social change which can cause Anomic suicide. Lastly, he suggested Fatalistic suicide. Fatalism is the excessive amount of regulation which leads to one committing suicide.
As I was reading through the different views on the causes of suicide, I thought that the sociocultural view made most sense for me. It made sense due to the claim that a person’s connections with social groups, religions, and communities can determine suicide probability (Comer, 2014). I imagine a sliding spectrum where people who are very invested in everything around them are on one end and on the other are people who don’t care about society. The two ends are the high suicide probability areas. Altruistic suicides where lives are sacrificed would fall on the invested end of the spectrum while the egoistic suicides which society has no control over a person and anomic suicides where a person’s social environment fails to provide structure
Most of the depression and problems in the brain are based on sociological denial from peers and others. Teen suicide as described by Emile Durkheim’s studies is mainly a focus on the social denial and rejection an individual may encounter in life. Social rejection, sociological disasters and group dynamics are important aspects that lead to teenagers committing suicide. These sociological issues are some of the leading contributions towards teen suicide and
Durkheim’s study of sociology was heavily focused in the study of social institutions such as religion, and marriage. As a positivist, Durkheim believed that suicide was an impartial reasonable fact of society. This idea is due to the visual representations of suicide rates of societies over
Durkheim was focused on setting the social level apart where independence is kept. He recognized that people in a society have different susceptibility to suicide and the influences that make them to
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
He focused more on society as a whole and what units or tears it apart. Durkheim believed that religion, be it a belief system with a deity or not, unified societies. Durkheim went as far as to define magic and science as a religion since they brought people together who shared beliefs and values. This unification is what kept societies and individuals going, also known as social solidarity. Durkheim argued that, within social solidarity, there needs to be a balance of regulation and integration. Societies who do not have a good balance of both either fail or give way to dictators and tear their society apart. One of the biggest topics Durham worked on is that of suicide. In studying this, he was identified four different types of suicide; Egoistic, Anomic, Altruistic, and Fatalistic. All four can are still evident in the modern world. Egoistic suicide can be related to someone who is bullied and degraded by society so much so that they feel unable to live within their society. Anomic suicide can be seen when an individual looses all he / she has and decides the only way out is suicide. Altruistic suicide is evident with suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks where the perpetrator ends up taking their life. Finally, Fatalistic suicide can be seen when an individual feels as if their self being is lost and instead is placed under strict
Durkheim did not feel satisfied with individualized explanations for suicide such as alcoholism or depression. He felt there needed to be a stronger explanation and sought to explain how suicide was truly brought about through social forces. He constructed a coordinate system that contained social integration (how well you are connected with society) on the y-axis, and social regulation (what you expect daily from the world) on the x-axis. You need to maintain a position somewhere near the middle of the two to have a low risk for suicide. This graph led him to four different types of suicide. Egoistic suicide occurs when an individual is not very connected to society. Altruistic suicide is the opposite, where an individual is too integrated.
One of Emile Durkheim’s goals as a sociologist was to show how social forces affect people’s behavior. To accomplish this, Emile Durkheim had to conduct rigorous research (page 10). In Durkheim's research, he found that each country has different suicide rates and that these rates remain about the same year after year. Durkheim also concluded the idea of social integration. Social integration is the degree to which people are tied to their social groups. More people who have weaker ties are more likely to commit suicide (page 10). It is easy to say that suicide is an individual issue and is based on one persons actions. But with further investigation, Emile Durkheim concluded that “Human behavior cannot be understood only in terms of the individual; we must always examine the social forces that affect people lives” (page 10). With objective analysis, Emile Durkheim was able to provide fact-based research to help contribute to the reasons for suicide and analyze it in groups rather than
Two years later he produced The Rules of Sociological Method and two more years later he wrote Le Suicide. These became Durkheim’s three major works, and moved him into the forefront of the academic world. (coser, 1971)
Durkheim also showed the function suicide plays in the society through his research. He found out that society of a certain type will show some level of deviance, whether suicide or some other form. However when the level of deviance is above normal it indicates a problem in the society or indicates that a pathology or abnormality exist in the society.
Emile Durkheim was considered one of the greats of the sociology world. His use of scientific methodology to identify social factors which contributed to suicide has produced a foundational model for empirically based social research still relevant in sociology today. The purpose of this essay is to examine Durkheim’s study of the social causes of suicide, specifically how his theory of social integration and regulation contributed in interpreting these differences in suicide rates. This essay will argue that although heavily criticised Durkheim’s findings of the social factors which contributed to suicide are still relevant in Australia today more than a century later. In order to support this claim, firstly an overview of Durkheim’s social theory will be provided, specifically of his social causes of suicide. In addition it will then focus on how Durkheim interpreted these differences in suicide rates between various groups using his theory of social integration and discuss the two types of suicide Durkheim identified in this area. We will then discuss social regulation and its two forms of suicide. Criticism of his theory will then be discussed, before providing relevant statistics from Australia in regards to suicide rates of teen and indigenous communities and examine these figures to explain these variances in light of Durkheim’s social theory’s, to support the fact that Durkheim’s theory’s are still relevant in Australia today. Emile Durkheim was born in 1858 in a
They feel isolated from the society and this pushes them to kill themselves. Despite being it an individual act its root is society. Hence, it is a social phenomenon. This is borne out of the fact that those who kill themselves are old people. Old age can bring both suicide and depression. Studies have shown that older people show less social interaction and more depression. For older people, their social circle has become lesser and sometimes they do not have anyone to talk to for one whole day. This can lead to depression as man is a social animal and he need the companionship of others for survival. The fact that they have to go out sometimes like to churches give them the opportunity to mingle with other people hence this will avoid depression which leads to suicide among the elders. The fact that an individual feels alone in the society may lead to depression and at the end lead to suicide. This clearly shows that suicide is a social phenomena and how much society influences the life of an