Sociology Literature Review

Topics: Suicide, Sociology, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (730 words) Published: March 7, 2015
Literature Review

Functionalist, Emile Durkheim, was one of the first sociologists to study the issue of suicide and this work has become known worldwide. Many have either refined his work or criticized it. Although Durkheim’s book Suicide: A Study in Sociology (1970) focused on suicide rates in some European societies, he was able to distinguish four types of suicide and he spoke about the type of person who would commit suicide. Two of the types of suicides Durkheim defined occurred in industrial societies: (1) egoistic suicide, which results from the individual being insufficiently integrated into the social groups and society to which he/she belongs and (2) anomic suicide, which took place when society did not regulate the individual sufficiently. This meant that society’s guidelines for behavior became unclear as rapid social change disrupted traditional norms and values. The other two types of suicides defined by Durkheim would have been experienced in pre-industrial societies: (1) altruistic suicide, which is where an individual would sacrifice their life out of a sense of duty to others because they were strongly integrated into the society and (2) fatalistic suicide, which occurred when the society restricted the individual too much. According to Jack D. Douglas in The Social Meaning of Suicide (1970), each act of suicide has a different motive behind it and a social meaning that is related to the society and context in which it took place. French sociologist, Jean Baechler (1979), expanded on what was said by Douglas in Suicide as Problem Solving. Baechler saw committing suicide as a last resort when responding to and trying to solve a problem. He believed that there were four types of suicides: fleeing from an intolerable life results in escapist suicides, aggressive suicides are ways of harming a person or people as well as killing yourself, achieving something that is valued by the victim when he/she commits suicide is an oblative suicide, and...
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