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.
Suicide by Émile Durkheim is well known text in sociology that is extensively taught to students within the field. Suicide was published in 1897, the work is considered cutting-edge both for showing detailed research of suicide that revealed there can and is social causes to suicide. Based on Durkheim’s research he said that suicide can be caused by social factors, not just individual psychological ones. Durkheim reasoned that being apart of society and integrated into groups in particular is a main factor. The more involved in society and connected to others the less likely they are to commit suicide. As this sense of belonging decreases suicide increases. Durkheim’s theory is formulated by four types of suicide (Egoistic, Altruistic, Anomic,
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
Feelings of isolation have been linked to higher suicide rates. Durkheim’s study on suicide during the industrial revolution supports this theory as he states that, “people were increasingly disconnected from their communities and that this social upheaval had a greater effect on suicide rates than other factors like wealth” (Winner & Collishaw, 2011). Interestingly enough, despite the increase of media attention on suicide, no studies have been published that explain why suicide rates vary among different groups. However, various factors are involved in the decision to commit suicide. As a result, suicide rates vary according to race, gender and age.
The first sociologist to theorize on suicide and its sociological interpretations was Emile Durkheim. Durkheim worked during the late 1800’s identifying social structures as the key determinant in self-destructive behaviour. In his work Suicide: A study in Sociology, Durkheim stated that “suicide rates increase when a society’s value system breaks down.”2 Durkheim believed that the shared values of a society and the mechanisms in place that ensure that its members adhere to these values, is interpreted as a person’s “social structure.” Durkheim suggested two basic factors in social structure that heavily influence the incidence of suicide. These are regulation and integration. He believed that an individual needs to become part of, and find direction in his own society. Without these factors in place, suicide becomes a common substitute. Teens are often anxious about fitting in to their society (especially among peer groups) so it is clear that integration is essential to adolescence. Durkheim also suggested that it is these two factors
Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally in 2012.” People who are 15-29 years olds would normally study or work in the society, so they might have had a problem about modern society. Also, the number of people who die due to suicide every year would prove that people are affected by society and have something bad problem about the society. The problems would be occurred in school or workplace, and those problems would be related to mental health such as bully, harassment and
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of different sociological approaches to 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
Suicide rate is a grow problem in the United States according to the American foundation for suicide prevention more than 41,149 suicides were reported in 2013. The highest rate of suicides is committed by adults between age 45-64 and this is especially true amongst the elderly. Older adults are inflected with a terminal disease, loneness and depression and because of this they are committing suicide at a higher rate. Suicide amongst the men is steadily higher than women, in 2013, 77.9% were male and 22.1% were female. Men success rate for suicide is much higher, because their attempt is more lethal, for example, men are more than likely to shot themselves, whereas women are more likely to use poisons to end their life. Suicide Rate committed race/ethnicity was higher among Whites 14.2%, American Indians and Alaska Natives 11.7%, Asians and Pacific Islanders 5.8%, Blacks 5.4% and Hispanics 5.7%. According to the mean method used to commit suicide is a firearm, then suffocation and poisoning. The main cause of suicide is due to mental health condition and depression is at the foremost leading factor.
The topic of suicide can easily become uncomfortable when discussing. Thoughts of family or friends using a permanent solution to a temporary problem is hard to grasp. Why would an individual choose to do this? Did it stem from personal reasons or was it fueled by a number of out-siding factors. Using Sociology we can decipher human behavior and gain an insight into a global issue .
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
For the purpose of the current essay, suicide will be defined, as an act or instance of taking ones own life through direct, deliberate and immediate acts that lead to death life through direct, deliberate and immediate acts that lead to death (XXXXX). Importantly, one should remember that there are different forms of suicide. For example, euthanasia to end suffering or physician assisted suicide as well as adolescent suicides for individuals that are prepubescent and honor suicides which are completed to escape the shame, placed on themselves or others, of an action they did. Additionally, there are two forms of attempted suicides that should be considered. First there is para suicide, or an attempted suicide using nonlethal means (Curra). Often, these are suicide attempts or gestures such as consuming a nonlethal amount of medication or cutting where the cut is not deep enough to cause significant blood less. Although there are numerous forms of suicide, the primary focus for the remainder of this essay will be on
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
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
Durkheim does not see egoism, altruism, anomie and fatalism as types of suicide, but types of social structure that highlight the presence or lack of integration and regulation. It must be stressed that this excess/lack of integration and regulation are not seen as direct causes of suicide, rather Durkheim sees a number of voluntary deaths in society as inevitable; integration and regulation are merely prophylactic to suicidal impulses, which when taken to excess or dramatically reduced, fail to act as a preventative, and so suicides occur. This clarification is an important strength of Durkheim’s theory: it allows the biography of the individuals who kill themselves to vary, while still explaining underlying pressures/lack of to explain their deaths, and the varying suicide rates between groups.