Essay on emile durkheim- le suicide

2380 Words Feb 8th, 2014 10 Pages
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 …show more content…
Although Durkheim did acknowledge the psychological characteristics of an individual’s decision to commit suicide, he believed this did not explain the rates of suicide, believing that these rates were caused by social forces based off an individual’s level of integration and regulation into their respective social groups within their social structure (Van Krieken et al., 2010). Durkheim described these social facts as the intersection of regulation and integration within a society.
Durkheim believed social integration was a person’s level of involvement in to their respective social groups, or a sense of belonging to a collective group with a collective conscious .Meaning that a well-integrated person has less chance of committing suicide than an individual who is lacking in support from their social group. It resulted in two types of suicide, egoistic and altruistic. Egoistic suicide is caused by a person lack of integration in society. This results in individuals having a sense of meaningless in their lives (Jerideau & Poole, 2000). Durkheim believed this was due to modernisation and a breakdown of social values in areas of family, religion and politics and generally weakens society and contributes to suicide (Nielson, 2005). An example from a religious social group is the fact that Protestants have higher suicide rates then Catholics and