Durkheim Suicide


Intro- to Durkheim’s study on suicide.

Durkheim believed that suicide statistics could be used to find sociological causes of suicide rates and that he could establish correlations and could uncover the patterns that would reveal the causal relationship at work in the production of suicide rate. When doing this study Durkheim’s’ ultimate aim was to show the sociology was as disciplined as the natural sciences. This is why the whole study is based on statistics.

Durkheim first discovered that the suicide rates of the European societies were fairly constant and stable; there were significant differences in the suicide rates between societies. There were consistent variations in suicide rate between different groups within the same society. He believed it was impossible to explain these patterns if suicide was seen solely as a personal and individual act. Thurs showing sociology was just as scientific as physics, chemistry or biology.

Causes of suicide.

Durkheim suggests that suicide was determined by two social factors:

1.       Social Integration: The extent that the individuals feel a sense of belonging to a social group/society and feel an obligation to its members. Achieved through family. Religious institutions etc.

2.       Moral regulation: The extent to which individuals actions and desires are kept in check by norms and values. Achieved though social control and socialization.

Suicide results for either too much or too little…


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