Sociology of Suicide

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  • Durkheim
  • In many ways a positivist, believed sociology was a science
  • Believed sociology should be objective, reliable and quantitative and used the comparitive method in his study of suicide
  • Considered suicide statistics to be social facts
  • Found that the suicide rates within each country were fairly consistent over a number of years
  • Also found that within each country some groups were more likely to commit suicide than others
  • Protestansts more likely than Catholics, unmarried more likely than married, people without children more lilely than people with, younger more than older, educated more than uneducated, rural dwellers more likely than city dwellers
  • From his detailed analysis, Durkheim concluded that the suicide rate was determined not by a person's psychological state, but by their relationship to society

Four main types of suicide in society each linked to integraton or control

Egoistic Suicide

  • When a person has too little integration
  • Characteristic of most suicides today
  • Why younger, unmarried, childless people are more likely to commit suicide as they have few links or roots to integrate themselves
  • Also why Catholics lower then Protestants as the Catholic faith integrates its members more

Altruistic Suicide

  • When a person has too much integration and sacrifices themselves for the good of the social group
  • I.e. suicide bombers

Anomic Suicide

  • When a person had too much freedom and lack of regulation placed on their behaviour
  • Aso common in Western countries
  • When society does not regulate or control the individual sufficiently
  • Example: a widowed woman, the Wall Street Crash

Fatalistic Suicide

  • When an individual has too little freedom
  • More relevant in the past i.e. slaves

Critics of Durkheim

The main problem with Durkheim…




excellent :) 



can u put some full stops at the end of each makes it much more easier to understand when listening to it..

Rachel Stead


brilliant. this is going to help with my first a2 essay! thanks

Rachel Stead


brilliant. this is going to help with my first a2 essay! thanks

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