Intergration Into Social Life And Suicide "An Emile Durkheim View Piont"

2192 words - 9 pages

This paper will try to put explanation to the thesis of Emile Durkheim 'that one is less likely to commit suicide the more one is drawn into or integrated within social life'. Durkheim completed his work on suicide in 1895 in the a case study called 'Le Suicide', with this Durkheim was to have written one of the most influential texts in sociology history. Durkheim saw society as more than just individuals who constitute that society, believing in the ability to explain individual action in terms of society as a whole. Durkheim saw suicide as one of the most private acts an individual could perform, and were it therefore possible to explain that action in terms of society. Therefore it seems to be plausible, within certain degree that integration of an individual within a social system has a great deal of influence on whether or not that person suicides. 'Durkheim used the notion of social solidarity, that individuals are more likely to resort to suicide if they are not well-integrated into society' (Jureidini, & Poole, 1997, pg. 30). Durkheim's model indicates that the suicidal individual has failed to integrate into society and is therefore detached from any kind of social life. 'Durkheim proved that the rate of suicide, was determined by the degree of integration of particular social structures- whether it be church, family, political, or national state' (Bierstedt, 1974, pg 297). 'For Durkheim is seeking to establish that what looks like highly individual and personal phenomenon is explicable through the social structure and its ramifying functions' (Durkheim, 1952, pg 10).It is not possible to predict who the individuals will be who commit suicide, yet that is not the point. The point is to reveal the nature of the collective forces at work, which render some people more vulnerable. Durkheim identifies this phenomenon as the 'suicidogenetic current'. Explanations according to motive, could not cope with such data and the emphasis switches from 'why do people commit suicide?', to 'who are most resistant to it?'. Therefore, this paper is based upon the aspect of social integration in connection to suicide as seen from Durkheim's thesis. That is ' is Durkheim's thesis that one is less likely to commit suicide the more one is drawn into or integrated within social life?'.Durkheim establishes a causal generalisation linking social solidarity and suicide. One of the most famous examples, linked to this theory would have to be that of differentiated suicide rates between (French) Catholics and Protestants. Durkheim, although not the first person, noted that the protestant communities exhibited higher levels of suicide that Catholic communities, and combined communities of both Catholics and Protestants showed intermediate rates. These differences could not be explained in terms of the character of their belief as both beliefs condemn suicide with equal severity. The most important difference between the Catholic and Protestant faiths is the...

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