Topic 11 - Suicide

  • Created by: Ben_95
  • Created on: 21-03-14 18:13


Durkheim, Positivism and Suicide

Positivist believe that society can be studied scientifically. They focus on the causes.

Durkheim (1897) - patterns in suicide and their social causes could be discovered. This would prove sociology is a science. (See TOPIC 3 - THEORY AND METHODS)

Durkheim (1897) - behaviour caused by social facts - forces found in the structure of society. Suicide is regarded as a social fact. Using official statistics, Durkheim found using official statistics that:

Different societies have different rates.

Rates vary between different social groups.

Such patterns of suicide are the result of two main factors:

  • Social intergration - how far individuals experience a sense of belonging to a group.
  • Moral regulation - how far individuals' actions are kept in check by norm.

Durkheim was the first to use multivariate analysis, enabling him to correlate suicide rates with other social factors. 

Durkheim's typology of suicide gives us 4 types of suicide:

1. Egoistic suicide - too little intergration

2. Altruistic suicide - too much intergration.

3. Anomic


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