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Sociology- Egoistic Suicide - Research Paper Example

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The sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) opposed the earlier belief that a person who committed suicide was mentally ill. Durkheim’s approach focused on the role and influence of society on human beharior…
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Sociology- Egoistic Suicide
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Sociology- Egoistic Suicide

Download file to see previous pages... The sociologist’s contribution to our understanding of suicide “is the relationship between society and the person who commits suicide” (Holmes & Holmes 25). According to Durkheim, egoistic suicide is illustrated by the “greater rate of suicide among modern individuals in the liberal, more educated, more well-to-do classes” (Lemert 46). This type of suicide is caused not by knowledge and education itself, but by the individual becoming too individualistic as a result of modern society’s failure to integrate the individual and provide moral protection. Egoistic suicide is sometimes the outcome of a person no longer finding a basis for existence in life. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to examine Durkheim’s theory of egoistic suicide, identify the similarities and differences between egoistic suicide and other types of suicide, and discuss Durkheim’s theory on the rates of egoistic suicides. Emile Durkheim’s Theory of Egoistic Suicide In Durkheim’s (1951) book on suicide, the sociologist delineated the fundamental differences in rates and types of suicide between traditional and modern societies (Appelrouth & Edles 111). Egoistic suicide results from a pathological weakening of the bonds between an individual and the social group. According to Durkheim’s theory, the two explanatory variables are integration and regulation. In societies where integration is low egoistic suicide results; when integration is high altruistic suicide results; when regulation is low anomic suicide results; and when regulation is high fatalistic suicide results” (Breault & Barkey 321). The extent of regulation in society depends on the extent of its control on the emotions and motivations of individual members. Breault & Barkey (p.321) conducted a comparative cross-national test of Durkheim’s theory of egoistic suicide involving indicators of religious, family, and political integration; while excluding the theory of regulation. The results of the study showed that the relationships between religious integration and suicide, family integration and suicide, and between political integration and suicide are inversely proportional. Further, the relationships between the independent and dependent variables are strong and very significant. Together, the researchers’ indicators of relgious, family and political integration explain about 76 percent of the variation in international rates of suicide. Egoistic Suicide in Relation to the other Types of Suicide A similarity between anomic and egoistic suicide is that both spring from the individual’s inadequate engagement with society. In egoistic suicide there is a lack of interactions in society and collective or group activity in the person’s life, thereby causing an emptiness deprived of purpose and meaning. However, in anomic suicide, society’s influence on controlling an individual’s passions is lacking, causing an absence of a check-rein (Lemert 47). Thus, in egoistic suicide life may have been unbearable because of excessive self-discipline, while in anomic suicide life may have been unbearable due to inadequate self-discipline (Broom & Selznick 30). Similarly, there is both likeness and difference between egoistic and fatalistic suicide, because in both types one of the components is a lack of integration with society as a result of which life becomes devoid of meaning. However, in fatalistic suicide the person suffers a trapped feeling, and believes there is no escape (Lemert 47). In egoistic suicide there is no cause the individual dies for, the most important factor is the individual. This person ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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