“In a classic sociological study, Durkheim (1966) identifies four types of suicide: “altruistic” and “fatalistic” suicides which he associates with pre-modern, traditional community and “anomic” and “egoistic” suicides characteristic of modern society.” (Kuhling, 2004) The ideas of sociologist, Emile Durkheim have undoubtedly helped my understanding of suicide of contemporary society. Durkheim has aided me in understanding the complexity of this topical issue and made me more aware of the roots of suicide. “Altruistic” suicide is committed for the benefit of others. This is whereby a certain individual feels obliged to commit suicide for the good of a group. An example is someone who commits suicide for the good of a religious or political …show more content…
““Egoistic” suicide happens when people feel totally detached from society.” (Crossman, 2017) Durkheim examined suicide amongst Catholics and Protestants. “While he concluded that there are similarities between the two groups such as “both teach that a new life begins beyond the tomb.” (Durkheim, 1951) He also found that there is a higher rate of suicide among Protestants than that of Catholics. He categorises Protestants as being more “individualistic” and Catholics as being more “communitarian.” This has most definitely aided my understanding of suicide of contemporary society as this is not an assumption I would have ever had …show more content…
(Crossman, 2017) Anomie refers to alienation caused by erosion of standards and values which includes people in transitions such as adolescents. Durkheim’s theory based on anomie has greatly enhanced my understanding of suicide among adolescents today. Many teenagers today suffer pain and according to him/her they “have no reason to endure life’s sufferings patiently” (Durkheim, 1951) and therefore revert to suicide as “the easiest way out.” Adolescence may be an unsettling time and may be a major challenge for many in contemporary society. Therefore, suicide amongst adolescents has risen dramatically in recent years for many a reason; depression, peer pressure, stress, etc. These struggles can be academically, socially or family orientated. We, adolescents fear rejection and annihilation and are not always able to deal with these fears in an effective nor an efficient manner. Therefore, suicide is often a common answer for many. Recent surveys indicate that as many as 1 out of 5 teenagers suffer clinical depression and according to suicide.org depression is the third leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds today. In conclusion, sociologist Durkheim, has greatly helped my understanding of suicide of contemporary society. Suicide is very much a complex and difficult issue to understand, however from the study of Durkheim’s theory, it can be concluded that “we are to
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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.
“Suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result” (Durkheim 34). Suicide is a phenomenon that has plagued our world since the beginning of time. It currently accounts for the second leading cause of death in people ages ten to twenty-four years old (Garni Powerpoint). This means of ending your own life is something we can prevent as a society. If we can eliminate societal pressures and stereotypes we can all be treated equally. All suicides during a certain time period are grouped together, when in all reality we should be treating each situation as it’s own. Durkheim states “...with it’s own unity, individuality, and consequently its own nature- a nature, furthermore, dominantly social”.
In 1820, due to the work of Andre-Michel Guerry and Adolphe Quetelet, the basic foundations for moral based statistics pertaining to immoral behaviors developed; of specific interest here was suicide. From this foundation came several contrasting views on the origin of what produced suicidal like behaviors. Some reserved a Humanistic approach while others took on a more fatalistic approach as they believed such actions would undermine the Christian belief. Nationalists set their minds on the idea that foreign influences were the cause of such acts while other theorists sided with Darwinism and simply viewed these irreversible acts as simply, “survival of the fittest (2013).”
First, one may question whether such phenomenon caused by external force such as society but shared awareness from individuals. However, Durkheim defends it by the term of conscience collective, which is also a kind of a social fact and points out the strength of linking morality to discover social laws. Secondly, Durkheim’s classification of suicide form has limited the causes and types. Moreover, Durkheim concerned the causes of suicide only with social facts and rejected the relationship between suicide and personality in terms of psychology, as well as alcoholism. Additionally, the subject of suicide is more likely to exist in disordered societies thus leading to an unbalanced research, which is prone to the theory of pathology. As a result, the contribution of suicide to sociology is actually
Religion can influence much of the behavior of religious believers and also their attitudes toward the meaning of life and death, and end-of-life decisions. Furthermore, it can also contribute to the differences in how various ethnic groups tolerate and accept suicide as a way of life. Religiosity is associated with reduced risk of suicidality (Lizardi et al., 2007).
According to Durkheim’s theories, suicide is the result of disturbances in the balance of social integration and regulation for an individual. Social integration can be defined as one’s connection to a social group, and moreover as the purpose and meaning provided to an individual’s life through said group. Common sources of social integration include: religion, domestic groups, political groups, and ethnic groups. Often social integration can be associated with social regulation. Social regulation can be understood as the social and moral rules that regulate what is right or wrong; and good or bad. Durkheim uses these terms to understand suicide as a social fact, or a result of a force that is beyond the individual. He sees social integration
Durkheim views suicide as a marker for the health and well being of society, if the suicide rates begin to start changing then that means there is a major change going on in our culture. Suicide is all how you about how well or not well you feel connected to society and the social norms of society. Every different type of suicide says and shows different things about that individual and the society they are in and what society is going through. Anomie, is a when society has little to no standards or norms. Egoistic suicide is one who has low social interaction with others in society and they feel lonely and feel as if they are an outsider and take their own life. Altruistic suicide is when someone gives up their own life for the good of the
Over the course of many centuries, philosophers and theological scholars have debated the ethics of suicide and its effect on society. For the most part, these arguments have delved into a variety of mores that identify values that are reflective of societies and personal. Moreover, arguments have covered the essence of human life. This paper will address the delicate subject of suicide and strive to shed light on the main thought, “when death is sought, does society have a moral responsibility to prevent suicide?”
Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist that was mainly responsible for the change of the earlier diffuse philosophy of Comte and others into a systematic discipline. He was known as a key figure in the development of sociology (Thomson, 2003, pp.15-17). In the work of Suicide Durkheim proves that on the basis of an analysis of statistical evidence the number of suicides depended on the nature and strength of social bonds(1951, pp.309-325). Of the greatest importance is Durkheim’s analysis of anomic suicide, which furthermore resulted in the social disorganization. He concluded that the structure of society at any time affects the degree of social solidarity and this was measured by the number of suicides that took place (1951,p.323).
The act of suicide effects many individuals worldwide. The medical definition of suicide is “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally” (Turner,1). However, suicide is more than just a medical condition. Emile Durkheim, referred to this state as altruism, which means that an individual’s personality is preserved to be of little value; he called this altruistic suicide (Douglas, 13). On the other hand, there are many types of cause and effect relationships of suicide. Many view the personal causes, while others look at the social causes and effects. As individuals, we need to look beyond the personal causes and look at what is happening socially.
Émile Durkheim in his book “Suicide” not only described different several distinct sociological profiles of suicide, but also made a variety of inductions based on his findings. He conducted various studies in Western Europe, used available statistics and data from existing research to argue for the hypotheses. A number of the conclusions may fit certain societies in Europe, or even the United States, as the work of Durkheim centred around the suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics in Europe (predominantly, the different cantons in Switzerland). Despite the drawbacks, Durkheim’s classic sociological study is to this day used by various scholars and media, as a basis for discussing the topic of suicide. Some of the major deductions that Émile Durkheim made (besides describing various suicide types) are:
People are ending their lives every day whether we as a society are aware of it or not. The situation or problem may be temporary but the solution and outcome is always permanent. This affects our society because when hearing about a suicidal incident or if it is someone that was known, it brings curiosity on one to want to know what they could have done to prevent it, or what options are there out there to help and decrease certain deviance behaviors such as this. This self-destruction deviance should not be happening, however it is. Emile Durkheim’s Anomie theory explains it is a condition in which the society provides little moral guidance to individuals; it is basically the analysis of social bonds between an individual and the community. Therefore, suicide relates and affects the society individually and collectively. It’s amazing how in the most prosperous nation on earth, America; research states almost five million of its inhabitants at some time in their lives attempt suicide. Though this is only attempting, every twenty minutes someone is the United States commits suicide. Another interesting fact that astound me was knowing the rates and who were more likely committing and attempting suicide in our society, and it stated that it is mostly attempted by people in their “prime of life” which are between the ages of 24 and 44, however suicide is also rising in “prime of the youth” ages also 15 to 24 years of age.
Durkheim claimed that within society there were two main reasons for the increase in suicide rates: egoistic suicide increased when individual members of society did not assimilate into society’s social life, as for anomic suicide this increase is due to the weakness and lack of regulation of society’s norms and values when considering individuals wants and need. The correlation between the level of social assimilation, regulation and suicide rates highlights the control that society holds over the individual. Durkheim (1893, p.21) proposed that, society was separate to the individual and even suicide had its place within the roots of society.
The next, altruistic suicide, is the complete opposite of egoistic suicide. A person who commits altruistic suicide thinks that the larger group is more important than he is. All things of the larger group take precedent over the individual which leads to suicide. We discussed “honorable” suicide under this category and one thing still bothers me from that discussion. Our humble narrator gave the example of a soldier jumping on a grenade as a form of honorable suicide. I disagree with this statement. I would argue that this is not a form of suicide but a form of training. This man or woman is trained to give his life for his country. It isn’t logical to think that the person jumping on the grenade thinks that he is committing suicide. Aside from that aspect, I feel that I understand this form of suicide the most. I think that being overlooked by the dominant group can lead to a person taking their own life. There are numerous times where we have seen on the news about the kid no one paid attention to taking his or her own life.
When an individual feels cut off in society this can lead them to suicide or as Durkheim called it ‘egoistic suicide’. Roles the individual carries on within their community can be weakened due to this, roles such as: work, family, friends and often loss of one of these roles such as the death of a family member (Buss, 2006). Although it can be argued that in today’s society there are a lot more resources to help an individual help cope with any of these issues it is still a common cause of suicide in contemporary society. Through these four typologies Durkheim concluded that the four typologies of suicide are based around different variables of imbalance between two social facts: social integration and social regulation. Durkheim argued that in order to lower suicide rates there needs to be equilibrium between these two facts. Each of the typologies Durkheim mentioned has been greatly influential in how we have come to understand suicide and the causes surrounding this sociological