Durkheim's Le Suicide: An Interpretivist's Approach

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Suicide is a phenomenon understudied in early 1960’s. One of the reasons was due to Durkheim’s ‘‘Le Suicide’’ (1897) had been widely ruled in sociology. Durkheim used a scientific approach to study the causalities of suicide. It was believed that there was little more to study on suicide. However, interpretivists such as Douglas criticised Durkheim’s study as not being reliable due to the fact he used quantitative data. Douglas believed that he failed to take into account society is constructed through people's interactions and all statistics are social construct.

Interpretivists seek to find the reasons of suicide by find how society is socially constructed through the social interactions between people in society. Recently, there has been a new interpretive approach which has formed new explanation significantly diverse explanations to Durkheim's positivistic approach. Although interpretivists approaches have produced a more valid meaning to suicide as some may say, it is still flawed. Douglas classification of suicide was trough social meaning through revenge,self-destruct,sympathetic,guilt etc. He believed that suicide was a way of responding by try to solve a problem.  He looked at categorizing suicides according to their social meanings because the causes and responses to suicide vary from society to society. Douglas criticised Durkheim’s study of suicide rates based on it’s methodological grounds. He argued that suicide statistics hardly lacked any form of validity mainly because it could be misinterpreted by the coroner’s verdict. For example, Durkheim suggested that suicide rates were low in Catholic countries due to high social integration. Douglass criticised this he would say that as for Catholics suicide is a mortal sin families would put pressure on coroners to reach an alternative verdict and the suicide figures were low due to inaccuracies. Douglas sees suicide statistics as the result of negotiations between the different parties involved...
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