Emile Durkheim's Theory Of Suicide

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminology, Max Weber, Working class, Marxism / Pages: 6 (1459 words) / Published: Dec 3rd, 2015
Structural functionalism argues that society is built on value consensus, which is a shared society of norms and values. They believe in each society, institutions work co-operatively to encourage harmony within society (Hodder. 1994).
Durkheim, a positivist sociologist, argued that society is based on social facts which need to be observed and tested scientifically (Giddens. 1986). Through his empirical study on suicide, Durkheim concluded that although suicide was a solitary act, it was a social fact triggered by causes of society. He found that too less or too much of integration and regulation can be a problem, Protestants had higher suicide rates as opposed to Catholics - Durkheim established a link between egoistic and anomic suicide
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The norms become blurred and individuals become unaware of what is right or wrong in society (Lilly, J. Robert et al. 2007). An example of anomie in society is the summer riots of 2011, making news headlines across England. Durkheim would argue that this incident is a lack of norms; offenders being unaware of the adequate norms in society. The article (The Telegraph. 2011) called it a ‘crumbling nation’, supporting Durkheim’s theory of anomie, as individuals in the riot may have been unsure of the norms in society and as a result showed acts of rioting. This suggests that the functionalist theory can yet be applied to society today and explain why people commit acts of crime and …show more content…
1972, p.6). However, Durkheim stated that after a modern society took shape, the repressive sanctions such as mutilation and torture were replaced by restitutive sanctions and punishment became less severe (Spitzer. 1975). Crime in the modernised society became more prevalent due to the differences in culture and individualisation (Giddens. 1976).
Although crime and deviance can be good, it can also disrupt the collective conscience and be a threat to society (Giddens. 1972). Removing crime completely is impossible as differences will form, no matter how small, crime is inevitable and will occur anyway (McLaughlin et al. 2013). However, sometimes crime is pathological and can put society at risk, it therefore has to be prevented or lessened (McLaughlin et al.

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