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Emile Durkheim and Suicide: Social causes and Social Types - Essay Example

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Name Tutor Course Date Emile Durkheim and "Suicide": Social causes and Social Types Emile Durkheim developed the theory of suicide, and he defines suicide as cases of death emerging from a negative or positive act of the victims themselves, and he claims that social causes must be considered in suicide and that non-social explanations are inadequate to provide account for accounts for variations in suicide rates…
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Emile Durkheim and Suicide: Social causes and Social Types
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Download file to see previous pages This paper provides a discussion on Durkheim’s suicide theory and explaining different types of suicide. This paper mainly focuses on the types of suicide because it is very important to analyze different forms of suicide to be able to understand the concept of suicide properly. Durkheim’s theory of suicide sought to identify forces in the society that were responsible for the differences in suicide rates between various groups, and according to him, suicide can be categorized into egoistic, altruistic, anomic and fatalistic based on the level of integration and regulation. Firstly, egoistic suicide happens when individuals are weekly integrated into the society and so, terminating their life will at least affect the rest of society whereas altruistic suicide refers to a situation where individuals are extremely attached to the society. On the contrary, anomic suicide mostly occurs where there is a weak social regulation between the social norms of the society and the individual, and in most cases, it is caused by dramatic economic or social changes in the society. Durkheim argues that anomic suicide is highly influenced by anomie (Cullen and Pamela 279). More so, fatalistic suicide is common where social regulation is completely instilled in an individual, therefore, excessive individuation as well as insufficient individuation leads to suicide (Durkheim and Mustafa 40). Based on Durkheim’s research findings, suicide rates are higher in Protestants as compared to Catholics; suicide rates are also high for single and divorced persons, as opposed to those who are married (Durkheim, Spaulding and Simpson 30); and also rates higher among those who are childless than those who have, and childless widows have higher suicide rates (Durkheim 190). Durkheim posits that suicide rates are extremely high among Protestants than Catholics because Protestantism encouraged far greater free inquiry as compared to Catholicism. Also, studies reveal that Protestants are more individualistic than Catholics and so suicide is more likely to happen in a disintegrated society than one which is highly integrated because as the group disintegrates, individuals detach themselves from the social life. Studies reveal that Protestants kill themselves much more than Catholics (Durkheim 157). Catholicism condemns taking an individual’s life and this explains why suicide rates are low among them (Durkheim, Spaulding and Simpson 16).Therefore, Durkheim concludes that egoistic suicide is caused by lack if integration, shared norms and values, beliefs as well as practices in a group. More so, Durkheim argues that lack of integration facilitates suicide because low integration leads to the feelings of meaningless or valueless of individuals, and this is likely to impel them towards suicide. Suicide varies based on the degree of integration of religion, domestic and political society (Durkheim and Mustafa 38). In addition, Durkheim realized that suicide also occurred in highly cohesive societies arguing that in cohesive societies, individuals kill themselves because they believe it is their duty to do so and if they fail to do so, they are punished. Accordingly, anomic suicide refers to the deregulation that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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