Durkheim Suicide

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  • Created by: caitlin
  • Created on: 15-04-15 13:03
The concept of social facts...
is the foundation of Durkheim's empirical approach to sociology
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Social facts, according to Durkheim....
are a collective way of acting, thinking and feeling
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Society and social facts appear....
to be an unavoidable external influence on individuals. It is acquired rather than recreated. E.G. culture and language
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Durkheim is regarded as....
a positivist as he believed that sociology should be studied scientifically like the natural sciences.
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To establish sociology as a science...
Durkheim needed to create a theoretically foundation, a method where social phenomena can be studied rigorously and demonstrate application.
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Durkheim was interested in the phenomena of suicide because...
he was interested in the way people acted. Particularly interested in distinguishing suicide as a social fact from the psychological assumption that it was a private motivation that manifest in the individuals private mind
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Unlike the psychological assumption...
Durkheim believed people act in a way due to interpersonal ties they experience in society. This lines up with one of his principle concerns of what holds society together, social intergreaton and regulation.
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In the study Durkheim wasn't...
interested in WHY people committed suicide, but more why there were differences in the rates and data.
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The common sense view states that...
suicide occurs due to individual unhappiness.
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Durkheim's study entailed....
examination of suicide rates in different countries such as England, France and Germany and social factors that occur such as religion and marital status.
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From the examination Durkheim identified 4 types of suicide.
Egoistic, Altruistic, Anomic and Fatalistic. All 4 correspond to levels of social integration and regulation.
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Egoistic suicide occurs when...
the individual has insufficient social ties, such as family, religion, things that are bigger than themselves, and excessive individualism which leads to self-absorption. Their lives have no meaning or purpose. (too little intergretion)
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Alturistic suicide is the opposite of Egoistic where...
the will and interest of the group is more important than the individuals and it commands the fate of the individual. e.g jones town massacre (too much intergretion)
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Fatalistic suicide occurs when...
the individual is made hopeless from oppressive social circumstances. e.g a slave (excessive regulation)
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Anomic suicide occurs in...
the absence of society's control over one's hopes and aspirations.
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Durkheim's approach was positivist in nature...
as he was looking for real laws in the same way natural sciences look for the law of gravity. However, as the laws he is searching for arent observable or measurable he has to adopt a realist approach.
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Durkheim followed a process of analysis in his study...
firstly, initial data collection. He needed to discover whether or not suicide was a social cause and required a large amount of data to ensure sufficient data sample.
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He required cross cultural and inter societal data
to ensure it was social fact and to compare with others. For these purposes Durkheim used official statistics.
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Secondly, he needed to analysis the data.
After data collection Durkheim would ask "are there any patterns or regularities in the statisitcs?" if YES then it suggest that there is a social cause. If NO then it suggest it is a result of the individuals psychology.
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If suicide had no social cause then suicide would be randomly distributed in terms of time of year, social charateristics. Since Durkheim did discover regularites...
its clear it is social and he needed to account for it. By analyzing and classifying patterns and analyzing what was happening at that time of year for example. After these steps Durkheim did discover a correlation of pattern and social events
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For example, one correlation was suicide rates and a religious festival.
He argued that it wasnt the religious festival itself that caused the different rates it was the underlying causes of integration and regulation. He stepped away from positivism here as his theorised explanation was in terms of unobserable causes.
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He argued that because religion functions to promote social intergration....
those individual who were not fully integrated suffered psychologically and became unhappy. (lack of integration - egoistic )
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Critical evaluation - Giddens argued that...
Durkheim identifies how two social facts are related, but that does not necessarily result in a cause and effect correlation
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In relation to the identification of fatalistic suicide...
Durkheim assumes that all those who are in vulnerable positions are more likely to commit suicide which is not always the case
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Durkheim lacks micro analysis
which misses the link between how individual psychological levels connect to the social.
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Durkheim's study was based on statistically data. how accurate was that data?
At the time of the study suicide as viewed as a crime, so social issues and fear of embarrassment and stigmatization may have negatively affect the data?
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Douglas is critical of Durkheim's....
acceptance of the reliabilty and validity of the OS on suicide. Douglas believes the data is a result of negotiation so people may try and hide it
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Durkheim's use of inductive method has been criticized...
for making the data fit his theory and ignoring data that did not fit his general theory.
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Card 2


Social facts, according to Durkheim....


are a collective way of acting, thinking and feeling

Card 3


Society and social facts appear....


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Durkheim is regarded as....


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


To establish sociology as a science...


Preview of the front of card 5
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