Durkheim’s theory of ‘suicide’ is related in various ways to his study of the In other words, anomic suicide takes place in a situation which has cropped up. According to Durkheim, there are four types of suicide: Anomic suicide relates to a low degree of regulation and this kind of suicide is carried out during. David Emile Durkheim linked anomic suicide to disillusionment and disappointment.

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This explains why periods of economic disaster, like those of sudden prosperity, are accompanied by an increase the number of suicides, and also why countries long immersed suiicde poverty have enjoyed a relative immunity to self-inflicted death. When a person commits this type of suicide they are greatly involved in a group. In every case, Durkheim observed, suicide increases in those months, days of the week and hours of the day when social life is most active, and decreases when collective activity declines.

The stronger argument — that one inherits a semi-autonomous psychological mechanism which gives rise to suicide automatically — was then rejected on the grounds that its most dramatic manifestation the regularity with which suicide sometimes appears in the same family can be explained by other causes contagionand that as within racial types, there are patterned variations suicidd the same family between husbands and wives which. The proof that the reality of collective tendencies is no less than that of cosmic forces is that this reality is demonstrated in the same way, by the uniformity of effects.

Suicide (book) – Wikipedia

Certainly not the state, Durkheim insisted, for political society is too distant from the individual to affect his life forcefully and continuously. Montesquieu’s suggestion that cold, foggy countries are most favorable to suicide was equally discredited by the fact that, in every country for which statistics were available, the suicide rate is higher in spring and summer than in fall and winter.

The decisive influence of these currents, however, is rarely exerted throughout an entire society; on durkneim contrary, its effect is typically felt within those particular environments whose conditions are especially favorable to the development of one current or another.

Most decisive, however, is the fact that an abrupt change in that social environment is accompanied by an equally abrupt change in the suicide rate. And again, in societies where economic progress is rapid and social restraints become slack, anomie suicides are inevitable. Nothing can calm it,” Durkheim concludes, “since its goal is far beyond all it can attain. Second, regardless of the credibility of such reports, Durkheim simply denied that motives were true causes, a characteristic position he supported by pointing to the contrast between relatively constant proportions of different classes of “motive explanations” both over time sjicide across occupational groups and extremely variable suicide rates themselves over the same time period and across the same occupational groups.

If you do not want cookies please select No otherwise select OK. In reality, people who actually commit the physical act of suicide, those who kill themselves often fall into 3 areas.

Second, later researchers found that the Protestant-Catholic differences in suicide seemed to be limited to German-speaking Europe and thus may always have been the spurious reflection of other factors. Social man necessarily presupposes a society which he expresses or serves. How are these data to be explained? In actual experience, anomix, these types and species are not found in their pure, isolated state; on the contrary, different causes may simultaneously afflict the same individuals, giving rise to composite modes of suicidal expression.


Durkheim suggested that, a priorithere are two kinds of extra-social causes sufficiently general to have an influence on the suicide rate.

Durkyeim, of all the great Protestant countries England has the lowest suicide rate; and it also has the most “integrated” of Protestant churches. Instead, we find suicide occurring in roughly homogeneous masses over broad regions with no central nuclei, an observation which suggests not only the complete absence of any local influence of imitation, but the presence of the much more general causes of the social environment.

The point, again is not that this automatically destroys Durkheim’s argument; but it does make it impossible to entertain alternative causes and typologies, and thus to evaluate Durkheim’s frequently ambitious claims. In primitive societies and the modern military, for example, the strict subordination of the individual to the group renders altruistic suicide an indispensable part of collective discipline.

Types of suicide

Then reflection intervenes to fill the gap that has appeared, but which amomic has not created. How can something generally understood to improve a man’s life serve to detach him from it? First, it would account for the still lower suicide rates of Jews who, in response to the hostility 17 directed against them, established strong suicixe ties of thought and action, virtually eliminated individual divergences, and thus achieved a high degree of unity, solidarity, and integration.

Posted on April 26, Durkheim denied of course that the causes of suicide and homicide are either “psychological” or “the same,” and also that the social conditions under which they occur are so consistently different; for, as we have seen there are different kinds of suicide with different, non-psychological causes, and while some of these are identical to those of homicide others are quite opposed to them. A good example would be great financial loss or when the financial market that person controls collapses with severe consequences for many involved.

This type of suicide occurs when the degree of social integration is too high. First, the scale of services and rewards is not immutable, but rather varies with the amount of collective revenue and the changing moral ideas of the society itself; and second, the system must secure some degree of legitimacy — both the hierarchy of functions and the distribution of these functions among the population must be considered “just” by those subject to it.

Books portal Sociology portal. Both natural and human-made factors can cause the mismatch between the mediums of attaining goals and societal regulations. Morality either springs from nothing given in the world of experience, or it springs from society. One answer was simply to rely on statistical records of the “presumptive motive of suicide” apparently construed as a cause kept by officials in most modern societies; but, despite its obvious convenience and plausibility, Durkheim rejected this resource for at least two reasons.

Suicides like that of Lamartine’s Raphaelfor example, committed out of a morbid mood of melancholia — were considered the consequence and expression of egoistic suicideas were the more cheerfully indifferent “Epicurean” suicides of those who, no longer able to experience the pleasures of life, see no reason to prolong it. Durkheim insisted that there was no other phenomenon so “contagious” as suicide.


Even the family, traditionally the central cohesive force in the life of the individual, has proved susceptible to the same disintegrative currents responsible for the rapid increase of suicide. There are various videos around online which demonstrate the moments before a person committed suicide, when they actually committed suicide there is often shown a sense of calm and control without any indication of what they were about to do such as waiting at a railway station platform in a calm patient manner the same as all the other commuters and then just as the train approaches they jump in front of it.

Industrial and financial crises, for example, increase the suicide rate, a fact commonly attributed to the decline of economic well-being these crises produce. Durkheim’s answer was that both alternatives are misconceived.

Why are some individuals rather than others “impaired”? Durkheim’s persistent use of this strategy can be attributed to his ineradicable belief, clearly stated in The Rulesthat a given effect must always have a single cause, and that this cause must be of the same nature as the effect. Second, the nature of the external physical environment climate, temperature, etc. This type of suicide occurs when the degree of social integration is low.

But the conditions of each individual environment are themselves dependent on the more general conditions of the society as a whole — the force of altruism in the army depends on the role of the military in the larger civilian population; egoistic suicide increases among Protestants to the extent that intellectual individualism is a feature of the entire society; and so on.

But is there, in fact, one “single, indestructible” suicidal tendency? The rash of suicides which accompanied the growth of the Roman Empire, Durkheim admitted, might support such a view; but from the height of Rome to the Enlightenment, suicide rates increased only slightly, while Roman culture was assimilated and then surpassed by Christianity, the Renaissance, and the Reformation.

After developing a statistical measure of the immunity to suicide enjoyed by various groups, 21 for example, Durkheim was able to show that, while marriage alone has a preservative effect against suicide, this is limited and benefits only men; the larger family unit, on the other hand, provides an immunity which husband and wife share.

Struck by the statistical regularity of certain social phenomena over time, Quetelet had postulated “the average man” — a definite type representing the most generalized characteristics of people in any given society.

And if they are, aren’t they also culturally relative?

Consistent with The Rules of Sociological Methodtherefore, Durkheim began his work with a warning against notiones vulgarestogether with an insistence that. This is the sphere of trade and industry, where the traditional sources of societal regulation — religion, government, and occupational groups — have all failed to exercise moral constraints on an increasingly unregulated capitalist economy.