Durkheim, positivism and suicide

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Name three factors (according to the NHS) that make a person more vulnerable to suicide?
- life experiences (e.g a traumatic childhood) -mental health issues - addiction
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Name one statistic on suicide
Suicide kills one person worldwide every 40 seconds
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What perspective was Durkheim arguing from?
Positivism
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What is positivism?
The belief that society can be studied scientifically and that sociology should model itself on the logic of the natural sciences
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What is the goal of sociology for positivists?
To produce laws to explain observed patterns in human behaviour
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Why did Durkheim choose to study suicide?
Becuase if he could show social patterns and discover the social causes, he would have proven that sociology is a science
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What case study did Durkheim use to support his view that "suicide cannot be simply due to psychological factors"?
Jews/Protestants - Jews had a higher rate of depression but a lower rate of suicide
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For Durkheim, our behaviour is caused by social facts, what are they?
Social forces found in the structure of society
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According to Stephen Lukes (92), what are the three features of social facts?
1) external to individuals 2) the constrain and shape behaviour 3) they are greater than an individual
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What did Durkheim use to study suicide?
Quantative data from official stats from various European countries
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What were the four regular patterns Durkheim found?
1) suicide rates for any given society remained constant over time 2) When rates did change, they consided with key events e.g war 3)dif societies had dif rates 4) rates varied in different societal groups e.g single more likely than married people
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What did Durkheim conclude?
That suicide is not result of individual motives e.g loads of dif people in army but rate still remains constant. Therefore, suicide effect of social forces acting upon an individual
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Name the 2 social facts that determine the rate of suicide?
social integration and moral regulation
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Explain social intergration
extent to which a person belongs to a group. In highly integrated groups a strong bond forms and so does a sense of duty
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Explain moral regulation
extent to which a persons acts are kept in check with societal norms and values
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Name the 4 types of suicide that result from integration and regulation
egoistic, altruistic, anomic, fatalistic
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What is the cause of egoistic suicides?
a lack of social integration and social ties. May loose purpose or meaning
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Why are egoistic suicide rates less among Catholics?
because they have a stronger sense of belonging and common purpose
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What is the cause of altruistic suicide?
too much social integration. When a group becomes more important than the individual and they don't feel needed
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What is the cause of anomic suicide?
too little moral regulation. Person becomes uncertain of what society wants and enters a state of normlessness. E.g 'booms' and 'crashes'
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What is the cause of fatalistic suicide?
too much moral regulation - develop fatalistic outlook on their situation seeing no resolve. Affected by 'violent checks' and 'oppressive discipline' e.g prisoners or slaves
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What are the two types of society?
modern industrial and pre-industrial
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Are there lower or higher levels of integration in modern society? Why?
lower levels bc individuals rights put above group weakening social bonds
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What kind of suicide does this create?
egoistic
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Is there more moral regulation or less? Why?
Less regulation bc of rapid social change which undermines norms
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What kind of suicide does this create?
anomic
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Why would high integration levels cause rise in altruistic suicides?
bc group is valued more than individuals - might think its for the greater good. E.g dying a martyr
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Why would high regulation levels cause rise in fatalistic suicides?
bc there is more limits on individuals opportunities
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Card 2

Front

Name one statistic on suicide

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Suicide kills one person worldwide every 40 seconds

Card 3

Front

What perspective was Durkheim arguing from?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is positivism?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is the goal of sociology for positivists?

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Preview of the front of card 5
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