Durkheim, positivism & suicide?
Belief society should be studied scientifically. Goal shouldd be to produce laws to explain observed patterns in human behaviour. Believed suicide had social causes that would prove socioogy was distinct/genuinely scientific discipline
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3 factors of suicide rates as social facts?
1.External to individuals 2.Constrain individuals, shaping behaviour 3.Are greater than individuals-exist on different 'level' from individual
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4 regular patterns of quantitative data on suicide rates?
1.Suicide rates for a society remained constant over time 2.When rates did change, coincided with others=fell in war/rose in eco depression 3.Diff socieities have diff rates 4.Within society, rates varied between diff social groups
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2 social facts that determine rate of suicide?
1.Social integration-extent people experience sense of belonging. High intergrated feel strong bond/sense of duty to others 2.Moral regulation-peoples actions/desires kept in ckeck by norms/values. Without social goals/rules peoples desires infinite
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4 types of suicide?
1.Egoistic 2.Altruistic 3.Anomic 4.Fatalistic
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Egoistic suicide?
Caused by too little social integration. Most common type in modern society, caused b expressive individualism/lack of social ties. EG. Lower catholic rate than protestants
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Altruistic suicide?
Opposite to egoistic=too much social integration. Involves putting others before oneself. Suicide is obligatory self-sacrifice for good of group EG. War
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Anomic suicide?
Too little moral regulation. Means 'normlessness' or deregulation. Ocuurs where society's norms are unclear by rapid social change, creating uncertainty. EG Eco slumps
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Fatalistic suicide?
Opposite of anomic=too much moral regulation. Belief on part of the individual, cant do anything to affect their situation. Occurs where society regulates/controls individual, where they find 'futures blocked' crushing all hope EG Slaves
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Suicide in modern industrial societies?
Lower levels of integration. Weakens social bonds & creates egoistic suicides. Modern socieities less effective in regulating individuals as they undergo rapid social change, undermines accepted norms = anomic suicides
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Suicides in pre-industrial societies?
Have higher levels of integration. Group more important than individual=altruistic suicides. Socieities strictly regulate members lives & impose rigod ascribed statuses that limit opportunities,produces fatalistic suicides
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Later positivist approaches?
Halbwachs=Durkheims student. Accepted positivist approach by sought to modify/add. Argued differences between urban & rural residence main reason for variationsin suicide. Higher among protestants, people living alone=on more function of urban locati
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Gibbs & Martin?
Regard Durkheims theory as 'foremost sociological theory of variability in suicide rates'. Wish to make laws like cause & effect, generalisations & predictions. Argue Durkheim doesnt operationalise concept of integration
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Gibbs & Martin on integration?
Define as situation where stable & lasting relationships. Tend to occur when individual has status integration-compatible statuses not conflicting with others EG When educational/occupational are similar. Predict little status integration=high rates
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Criticisms of Durkheims study?
Stats used were ureliable & incomplete, in 19th century medical knowledge of causes of death limited. Many countries lacked sophisticated modern admin system needed to collect & compile reliable stats
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Douglas- Social meanings of suicide?
Takes interactionist approach to suicide. Interested in meaning that suicide has for deceased & way coroners label deaths as suicide
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2 criticisms Douglas makes of Durkheim?
1.Use of official stats 2.Actors meanings & qualitative data
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Use of official stats?
Decision to classify death as suicide is taken by coroner. Argues may explain patterns Durkheim found EG High level of intergration leads to low suicide rate & explained by fact well integrated may have friends/relatives who cover up suicide
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Acotrs meanings & qualitative data?
Douglas criticises Durkheim for ignoring meanings of the act for those who kill themselves & assuming suicide has fixed/constant meaning. Notes meaning can vary from cultures EG Japanese warrior & Western businessman
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Doublag rejecting Durkheims aim?
Instead we must classify each death according to actual meaning for deceased. Must use qualitative methods & sources to produce case studies based on analysis of suicide notes/diaries/interviews with relatives
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Methods Link -Using Documents?
Jerry Jacobs - Analysed 112 suicide noted to gain understanding of social meanings. Classify 102 into typology of 6 categories on actors intentions using vestehen. Interpretivist see suicide notes as direct/meaningful form of communication=valid
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Drawbacks of methods link?
Small scale may not be representative of suicides in general EG Those with elss coherent motives/who act on impulse may not leave noted. Also no guarantee Jacobs' interpretation of meaning is correct
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Douglas & qualitative data?
Overcomes problems caused by relying onoff stats. Analysis of suicide notes allow us to 'get behind' the labels cororners attach to cases. Better idea of real rate of suicide
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Criticisms of Douglas?
No reason to believe sociologists are any better than coroners. Sainsbury/Barraclough found rank order of suicides for immigrants to US correlated closely with rates for their countries of origin, despite diff set of labellers. Stats=real rate
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Other criticisms of Douglas?
Inconsistent, suggesting off stats merely product of coroners opinions. Claims we really can discover causes of suicide but how can we if we never know whether death was a suicide?
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Atkinson- Ethnomethodology & suicide?
Different interpretivist approach from Douglas. Argues social reality is construcy of its members. Create relaitiy using a stock of taken-for-granted, commonsense knowledge. Sociologists job to uncover what this knowledge is
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Atkinsons review of Douglas' contribution?
Douglas argues off stats merely construct labels coroners give to deaths. Qualitative data allows to get behind these labels. Atkinson accepts 1st point but not 2nd. Can never know real rate as we would have to know for sure what meanings dead give
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Atkinsons focus?
How coroners categorise deaths. Range of qualitative methods like conversations with coroners, observations of inquests. Concludes coroners have commonsense theory of typical suicide=What kind of person commits, for what reasons.If case fits=suicide
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4 types of relevant evidence coroners common sense theories lead them to see?
1.Sucide note 2.Mode of death 3.Location & circumstances 4.Life history
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Atkinsons conclusions?
Coroners use take for granted assumptions on what constitutes a 'typical' suicude'. Verdict of suicide simply interpreation of death based on assumptions. If correct, poses problems for Durkheims theory that treat stats as facts=not discovering cause
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Evaluation of Atkinson?
Structuralist Hindess criticise as self defeating. Atkinsons view that only thing to study is coroners interpretaions can be turned on him. If all we have is interpretations of social world not objective truth, ethnomethodologits just interpretations
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Taylor- Realism & suicide?
Like interpretivists, argues suicide stats cant be taken as valid eg Study of 32 people who had dies after being hit by London tube trains, just over 1/2 resulted in verdict of suicide, though no conclusive evidence of suicidal intent.
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Taylor & positivism?
Believes can still explain suicide, can discover real patterns/causes, though unlike them he doesnt base explanation on suicide stats. Adopts realist approach, aims to reveal underlying structures/causes, not directly observable, can explain evidence
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4 types of suicide according to Taylor?
1,Submissive 2.Thanatation 3.Sacrifice 4.Appeal
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Submissive suicides?
Person is certain about themselves/ EG May know they have no future or reason to go on. Suicide attempt is serious
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Thanatation suicides?
Wehre they are uncertain about themselves. EG May be uncertain about what others think of them. Suicide attempt involves risk taking-may or may not survuve
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Sacrifice suicides?
Certain about others & know they have to kill themselves. Like submissive suicides, attempt is serious. Either they or the person has done something that makes it impossible for the individual to go on living EG Betrayal through affair
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Appeal suicides?
Person is uncertain about others. Have doubts about importance to the other & attempt suicide to resolve uncertainty. Attempt is form of communication that seeks to change others behaviour. Like thanatation suicides, involve risk taking/uncertainty
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Evaluation of Taylor?
Theory based on interpretations of actors meanings= no way of knowing if these are correct. Small sample of case studies unlikely to be representative of suicides in general
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2 similarities between Taylor & Durkheim?
1.Taylors idea of certainty & uncertainty parallel Durkheims notions of fatalism/anomie 2.Taylors self/other directed suicides parallel Durkheims egoistic/altruistic suicides
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3 factors of suicide rates as social facts?


1.External to individuals 2.Constrain individuals, shaping behaviour 3.Are greater than individuals-exist on different 'level' from individual

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4 regular patterns of quantitative data on suicide rates?


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Card 4


2 social facts that determine rate of suicide?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


4 types of suicide?


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