Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of Durkheim’s study for explaining the rate of suicide in society (21 marks)

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Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of Durkheim’s study for explaining the rate of suicide in society (21 marks)

As Item B suggests, Durkheim’s study of suicide suggested that it was flawed function of institutions, rather than the persons own decision. He was a positivist and believed that individual action was shaped by the social structure. He therefore aimed to show that the supreme individual act was the product of social influences beyond the control of the individual. For example he believed that from his data about suicide taken from a range of European societies for the period of 1840 to 1870, he noted that within single societies, the rate of suicide remains fairly constant over time, whilst suicide rates varied consistently between different societies. 

Durkheim therefore suggested that suicide rates were social facts; they were socially determined by the organisation of societies. However the coroner decides whether its suicide or not, therefore due to this

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