Suicide a Study in Sociology

Suicide a Study in Sociology

Emile Durkheim investigates the morbid subject of suicide in Suicide (1897).  Most people see suicide as an individual act committed in isolation, but Durkheim challenges this assumption.

Durkheim contends that the choice to commit suicide is influenced by the type of society one is living in.  For example, in his book he outlines four different suicide typologies based on the society type.  Consider the below graph that summarizes his suicide types:

Durkheim's 4 suicide typologies

Explanation: The parts in blue refer to society types.  For example, “Weak Tie” would be a society that has weak social integration.  Thus, people who are at the extreme, feeling isolated and disconnected, are at risk for committing suicide.  Durkheim titles this suicide egoistic.  To learn more about his suicide types I strongly suggest reading his book.

In addition, to discussing suicide types, this book goes into detail about what types of people commit suicide and even how people choose to commit suicide.  Check out this detailed summary of his work http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/o26f99.htm

Impact of Work: By arguing that the individual act of suicide is caused by social contexts, Durkheim’s groundbreaking book carved a niche for sociology in the academic world.

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