Durkheim - Durkheim's basic philosophical position can be...

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Durkheim's basic philosophical position can be summarised as follows: 1. Society is made-up of individuals. 2. However, it is something more than the simple sum of these individuals, since people form social relationships that involve rights, routines, responsibilities and so forth. 3. Society is not reducible to individual motivations, behaviours and so forth because: People are born into societies that have a structure of: Rules, Relationships, Norms, Values and so forth. 4. People's behaviour is shaped, in some way, by the above factors. In effect, behavioural forms are subject to certain constraints that arise from the nature of the social relationships which they form. Durkheim argues that if we can understand the constraints that shape individual behaviour, we can effectively study the causes of that behaviour. Outline some of the implications this might have for the scientific study of human behaviour: “Suicide”: A Classic Sociological Analysis In the following, I intend to do two things: Firstly, to look at the way in which Durkheim argued that we should be concerned to understand suicide as a social phenomenon. This will include an outline of the different types of suicide that Durkheim elaborated in his study. Secondly, to look in more detail at the logic of Durkheim's analysis - to understand the way in which he constructed his sociological study of suicide (Durkheim's methodology). Durkheim's study of suicide was, and remains, an important example of the way in which sociological knowledge and methodological principles can be used to challenge commonly-accepted or "taken-for-granted" ideas about the nature of the social world. As he argued: "Since suicide is an individual action affecting the individual only, it must seemingly depend exclusively on individual factors, thus belonging to psychology alone. Is not the suicide's resolve usually explained by his temperament, character, antecedents and private history?. ..If, instead of seeing in them [that is, suicides] only separate occurrences unrelated and to be separately studied, the suicides committed in a given society during a given period of time are taken as a whole, it appears that this total is not simply a sum of independent units, a collective total, but is itself a new fact sui generis [that is, unique in some way], with its own unity, individuality and consequently its own nature - a nature, furthermore, dominantly social." .
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From the above, briefly explain why you think Durkheim considered it important to study suicide as a collective, as opposed to an individual, phenomenon. We can summarise the ideas contained in the above quotation in the following way: 1. The decision as to whether or not someone commits suicide appears, on the face of things, to be a uniquely individual choice. 2. However, if we change the focus of attention from the act itself and the
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Durkheim - Durkheim's basic philosophical position can be...

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