The Social Pathology Of Suicide By Emile Durkheim

780 Words4 Pages
Emile Durkheim studies the social pathology of suicide in detail. Through the use of both excessive and insufficient social integration we can grasp suicide in a social context. Durkheim uses the example of suicide among Jews, Protestants and Catholics within varying cultures and social settings. This allows us to understand the rates and causes of suicide and how they differ across the three religions.

Protestants have always had more of an appetite for suicide than the Jewish and Catholic community (Durkheim, Emile, A Study in Sociology, London: The Free Press, 1951). It is only on some occasions that this is reversed. Up until the middle of the 19th century, Catholics have committed suicide more than Jews in all countries, except for in Bavaria. Both Catholicism and Judaism teach strict disciplines in their individual religions. They both teach self-control and obedience, and due to this suicide is often condemned. Along with this, these religions are often the minority within certain societies across the globe. Durkheim invites us to investigate the rates and causes of their suicides with these factors in play.
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Yet here we see that they kill themselves only one third as often as Protestants (Durkheim, Emile, A Study in Sociology, London: The Free Press, 1951). In Bavaria we see a decline in the difference as two thirds of the population are among the Catholic community. Suicides of the latter party are only 100 to 275 of those of the Protestant community (Durkheim, Emile, A Study in Sociology, London: The Free Press, 1951). These statistics greatly contrast to those found in Austria, which is almost entirely made up of Catholics. A rate of only 155 Protestant to 100 Catholic suicides exist. This shows that Protestant suicides increase when they’re a minority (Durkheim, Emile, A Study in Sociology, London: The Free Press,
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