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DURKHEIM'S SCIENTIFIC APPROACH
· He wanted to prove that sociology was a science so tried to
explain suicide
· He did a multivariate analysis which involves comparing social
incidences with actual statistics
· He found patterns in suicide
· If suicide was an individual matter rather than a social matter
there wouldn't be any patterns
· Suicide is correlated with a lack of social integration
· If a religion focuses on the group rather than the individual
then people will be more socially integrated
Hindu/Catholics Protestants
Less suicide More suicide
More Integrated Less integrated…read more

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Egoistic Altruistic
-individuals rights, interests and welfare are stressed -the welfare of the individual is less important
and the link to the wider group is weak than the welfare of the group
- People will look after themselves at the expense of
the wider society and social integration is low
i.e. individual choice/happiness isn't a high
priority
-T his society is linked to Protestantism because
individuals make their own decisions and accept the - The only reason for suicide is that the
consequences individual is expected to do so on the behalf of
- The individual's failure is the reason for suicide the wider society
Durkheim's 4
types of
society
Anomic Fatalistic
- The social mechanisms provide a clear
framework of what behaviour is acceptable - This is an oppressive society
-when these mechanisms are weakened then -In an oppressive society people may
people revert to their natural selfishness where want to die rather than live
they look after their own interests
- This explains high suicide rates in prisons
-Anomic suicide happens during periods or rapid
social change and this is because of the lack of - Therefore fatalistic suicide occurs in
social integration extremely oppressive societies…read more

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CRITICIZING DURKHEIM
· There's no clear definition of what social integration is
but Durkheim's analysis depends on it
· The official statistics he sued are flawed as they may not
be reported correctly
· Social integration hasn't been verified or falsified ­
therefore it doesn't prove that sociology is a science…read more

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INTERPRETIVIST J.D.DOUGLAS CRITICIZES
DURKHEIM
· Douglas sees suicide statistics as social constructs
· Social constructs are the idea that statistics represent
the activities of the people who construct the statistics
rather than the actual criminal activity
· For example, the decision to classify a death as suicide is
taken by a coroner therefore there may be bias in the
verdicts which are reached…read more

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INTERPRETIVIST J.D.DOUGLAS CRITICIZES
DURKHEIM
· The findings that a high level of integration leads to low
suicide rates can be explained by the fact that friends and
relatives of socially integrated individual's may deny that the
death was a suicide due to guilt
· They might even destroy suicide notes!
Douglas also criticized Durkheim for relying on official statistics
and instead felt that we should classify each death according to
its meaning for the deceased by analysing suicide notes and
diaries…read more

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