Topic 10 - Suicide

  • Created by: 09eatonb
  • Created on: 03-01-16 17:29

DURKHEIM, Positivism and Suicide -

  • positivists believe society can be studied scientifically. Science devlops laws to explain observed patterns. Durkheim (1897) argued that there are patterns in suicide and their social causes could be discovered. this would prove sociology was a science.
  • Positivists focus on the causes of suicide
  • Suicide rates as social facts -
    • In durkheims view, behaviour is caused by social facts - forces found in the structure of society. social facts are external to individuals; they constrain individuals, shaping their behaviour, and are greater than idividuals - they exist on a different 'level'. For Durkheim, the suicide rate is a social fact.
    • using official statistcs for various Earopean countries, Durkheim found that:
      • Different societies have different rates 
      • Within a society, rates varied between social groups; e.g. catholics had lower rates than Protestants
    • For Durkheim, such patterns show that suicide rates are the result of 2 social facts:
      • Social Integration = how far individuals expeience a sense of belonging to a group
      • Moral reguation = how far individuals' actions are kept in check with norms
  • Durkheim's typology of suicide - 
    • 4 types of suicide:
      • Egoistic suicide = (too little integration);e.g. catholics have a lower rate than Protestants because they are more tightly integrated by shared rituals
      • Altruistic suicide = (too much integration), where it is the individuals duty to die for the goo of the group; e.g Japanese Kamikaze pilots
      • Anomic suicide = (too little regulation), where societys nroms become unclear or outdated by rapid change, e.g. economic booms and slumps.
      • Fatalistic suicide = (too much regulation), where society controls individuals completely, e.g. slaves…


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