Suicide Notes

HideShow resource information
Preview of Suicide Notes

First 489 words of the document:

Suicide could be seen as the ultimate deviance act (Bowne 2009) as society relies on the
survival of human life
By committing suicide, the deviant is essentially willingly breaking society down ­ causing
society's values to Atrophy
In 1961 in England and Wales suicide was a criminal offence
In 2006, there were 5,554 suicides in adults over 15 years old in the UK
¾ of suicides in 2006 were committed by men
The sociological study of suicide is essentially a Positivist vs Interpretivists argument which
explores the use of quantitative vs qualitative data in studying suicide within society
Believe that it is possible to apply the logic and methods of natural sciences to the study of
Doing so will bring us true, objective knowledge of the same type as that found in the
natural sciences
This will provide the basis for solving social problems and achieving process
Reality is not random or chaotic but patterned
It is the job of science to observe, identify, measure and record these patterns
systematically ­ preferably though lab experiments- and then to explain them
In Durkheim's words ` real laws are discoverable' that will explain these patterns
Durkheim argues that the society exists externally to individuals and is made up of
observable, measurable phenomena known as social facts
In his study of suicide entitled "Le Suicide" (1897), Durkheim set out to show how even an
apparently personal, individual act such as suicide can be a product of External forces
Durkheim compared suicide statistics from different countries in order to find correlations
and patterns between them
- He hoped to uncover a cause and effect formula for suicide
- Comparting quantitative/ statistical data to uncover patterns is known as the
comparative method
Found that , although the individuals making up society varied over time, some factors
remained constant:
- In each society the suicide rate was fairly constant and stable over time
- There were significant differences in suicide rates between societies e.g. between
Catholic and Protestant countries
- There were significant differences between social groups in society
Durkheim argued that, because these patterns were so consistent and constant, suicide
could not be explained as individual, persona act. In order words there must be forces in
society that cause suicide (External Social Forces)
Durkheim hoped to pinpoint what these external forces were that appeared to be linked
to suicide such as religion, sex, age, family, social stability etc. From this he concluded that
suicide was linked to 2 social forces:
- Social Integration: Integration of individuals into social groups, binding them into society
and building social cohesion
- Moral Regulation: Regulation or control by social values of the actions and desires of

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Durkheim identified 4 types of suicide
-Egoistic Suicide : Suicide in societies where people regard their individual happiness as
very important
-Altruistic Suicide : Suicide in societies where people see their own happiness as
-Anomie Suicide : Suicide in societies where rapid change is occurring
-Fatalistic Suicide: Results from the over regulation of the individual e.g.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

Suicide ( and their statistics) are therefore a product of differing opinions, attitudes and
No two suicides are the same
- Every suicide is unique and cannot be explained by formulaic causes and effects as
Durkheim argues
In order to understand suicide, each case must be put together like a puzzle using all
available evidence
- Generalisations should not be made
Atkinson (1971)
Looks at how the decision to label a death as a suicide is reached by the corner
Argues that quantitative methods…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all resources »