Sociology & Suicide
Amy M. Ehlert
Northcentral Technical College
In this paper, I introduce Emile Durkheim's ideas of suicide and the four types. I also discuss the sociological perspectives of the variations in suicide rates that Durkheim's theory is able to explain. Finally, in conclusion, I offer my own personal views on the topic of suicide and propose ways that society could prevent suicide.
Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist who published one of many books, entitled, "Suicide". In it, he showed the different suicide rates between Protestant and Catholic people. This book was published in 1897, so, it reflects his findings at that point in time. Some of the theories that Durkheim established about suicide being at a higher rate include the following: * Men than women
* Single than married
* Childless than with children
* Protestants than Catholics/Jews
* Soldiers than civilians
* Times of peace than in times of war
* Scandinavian countries
* Higher education level
The four subtypes of suicide that Durkheim recognized were: egoistic, altruistic, anomic, and fatalistic. Egoistic suicide resulted from a feeling of not belonging or having no sense of meaning. Altruistic was being overwhelmed by a society's beliefs and they feel less important. Anomic was from a person's basic lack of not knowing where they fit in. Finally, fatalistic suicide, which is the rarest, is when a person's future or what they are passionate about are oppressed by harsh discipline.
The longitudinal variation in Durkheim's theory is pretty much constant in that during each decade, the rates stay about the same. They range from a low of 10.6/100,000 in 1960 to a high of 12.4/100,000 in 1990. The average rate remains around 11.39/100,000. No matter the difference in integration, social ties or freedom, the suicide rates remain about the same.