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Essay On Durkheims Theory Of Suicide

Emile Durkheim's "Suicide" Essay

1. Durkheim suggests that suicide is tied with "moral life as a whole" (p. 45) not only in the text, but through tables of many different countries. On page 47, Table I, Stability of Suicide in the Principal European Countries, shows that the major countries, France, Prussia, and England, all show patterns. This table is one example of how suicide is a social fact because there is stability, a pattern, and a trend of a period of time. The table shows from 1841 to 1872 with almost all the countries listing rates of suicide increasing every year for 30 years. This shows that suicide is a social fact. On page 49, Table II, Comparative Variations of the Rate of Mortality by Suicide and the Rate of General Mortality, lists the years from 1841 to 1860, the deaths per 1,000 inhabitants stay very close to the same, average 23.2. Yet the suicides per 100,000 inhabitants, starting in 1841 is at 8.2, and steadily increases to 11.9, just another reason suicide is considered a social fact. These tables don't show that there is a variation in the suicide rates within the country, but looking at the different countries, the larger populated areas has a higher suicide count. But within the same country, the rate progressively increases over time.

2. Durkheim turns to religion as a motivational factor for suicide. He mainly speaks of Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism and the connections they form towards suicide. He concludes that Protestantism has a far greater suicide rate than Catholicism because Protestantism allows for more individual thought, which also means there are fewer common beliefs within that group (p. 159). On the same lines, this is also true for Judaism when compared to Catholicism, except not to the extent of Protestantism and Catholicism. The Jewish church is more united than any other church, and like all early religions, "consists basically of a body of practices minutely governing all the details of life and leaving little free room to individual judgment" (p. 160). This tells us that the more freedom of thought by the individual mind, Protestantism, the higher rates of suicide. A religion with a more strict and tight ruling on ones life practices, Judaism, would have a lower suicide rate because one is "not allowed" to think as an individual as much as the Protestants.

3. Egoistic suicide results when someone has found no other reason to live. This would happen when a society does not have individuals under its control, forbidding the individual to dispose of himself. When someone depends only on himself and does not recognize any other rule of conduct founded on his private interests, this is because the groups he belongs to are very weak. The weaker the religious society integration, domestic society integration, and political society...

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Emile Durkheim's Theories on Suicide Essay

816 Words4 Pages

Emile Durkheim's Theories on Suicide

I chose to write about Durkheim's theories on suicide. Although I don’t completely agree with all of them, I will discuss what my text says they are and what I perceive them to be.

Most of Durkheim’s work on suicide was published in his third book, Suicide. It was a very important book because it was a serious effort to establish empiricism in sociology. This empiricism would provide a sociological perspective on a phenomenon that was previously psychological and individualistic.

He proposed three major forms of suicide, some with subdivisions. These three forms of suicide were egoistic, altruistic, and anomic. With egoistic suicide, Durkheim proposes that a person will commit suicide if…show more content…

The next, altruistic suicide, is the complete opposite of egoistic suicide. A person who commits altruistic suicide thinks that the larger group is more important than he is. All things of the larger group take precedent over the individual which leads to suicide. We discussed “honorable” suicide under this category and one thing still bothers me from that discussion. Our humble narrator gave the example of a soldier jumping on a grenade as a form of honorable suicide. I disagree with this statement. I would argue that this is not a form of suicide but a form of training. This man or woman is trained to give his life for his country. It isn’t logical to think that the person jumping on the grenade thinks that he is committing suicide. Aside from that aspect, I feel that I understand this form of suicide the most. I think that being overlooked by the dominant group can lead to a person taking their own life. There are numerous times where we have seen on the news about the kid no one paid attention to taking his or her own life.

Next, there is anomic suicide. This idea was the hardest for me to understand because it seems to go against logic at first. My interpretation of anomic is that a person has to have a set amount or number of norms or laws imposed on them. There has to be an equal amount to keep the person balanced. To little or

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