Sociological Analyses of Suicide

Sociological Analyses of Suicide - Sociological Analyses of...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Sociological Analyses of Suicide Most analyses of suicide tend to begin with Durkheim ("Suicide: A Study In Sociology", 1897) and this one is no exception, since Durkheim's contribution to both our understanding of suicide and the methodological principles involved in the study of social phenomena represent one of the most significant developments in sociological forms of analysis. " Suicide: A Study In Sociology " remains one of the most significant books in the history of sociology for two main reasons: 1. It was the first attempt to apply a set of systematic principles of scientific investigation to a specific social phenomenon (suicide). These principles had been elaborated, by Durkheim in his earlier book "The Rules of Sociological Method", 1895. 2. Having outlined the principles involved in the scientific study of society, Durkheim attempted to demonstrate the way in which we could apply those principles to the study of any social phenomenon. A phenomenon such as suicide, for example, could, Durkheim argued, be analysed scientifically and the causes of that phenomenon elaborated. Durkheim believed that, in order to understand social life we had to analyse human behaviour in terms of its explicitly social characteristics and, for this reason, the study of suicide was a particularly appropriate choice of subject matter because: 1. Up until Durkheim's analysis, suicide had been "explained" in terms of: a. "Free will": The basic idea here being that people, as free-thinking individuals, simply made the choice of whether or not to kill themselves in a kind of "social vacuum". Suicide, in this respect, was seen to be a fundamentally psychological phenomenon. b. Biological determinism : In this respect, suicidal individuals were explained in terms of such things as "madness", racial characteristics, "innate predisposition’s" and so forth. In this sense, suicide was explained in terms of individuals possessing some form of inherent biological condition that caused them to commit suicide. 2. Durkheim argued that if it could be established that suicide - apparently the most personal of individual, psychological, conditions - had social causes then it would help to establish sociology as both a new discipline and, most importantly, as the scientific study of social phenomena.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Imagine that you were going to do a sociological study of suicide and, given your knowledge of concepts such as norm, value, social relationship and so forth, how might you try and justify the idea that suicide has social causes? (Hint: Think about the way in which social relationships involve routines / responsibilities.) Before we start to look at the way in which Durkheim tried to analyse and understand the nature of suicide, it might be useful to look briefly at the background to both Durkheim's basic work and his sociological perspective since this will enable us to understand: a. The relationship between his basic perspective and his methodology. b. The basic nature of Structural Functionalist thought.
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 5

Sociological Analyses of Suicide - Sociological Analyses of...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online