Part of society natural positive and negative

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– part of society (natural) - positive and negative - intentional - not like many other acts “Suicides do not form, as might be thought, a wholly distinct group, an isolated class of monstrous phenomena, unrelated to other forms of conduct, but rather are related to them by a continuous series of intermediate cases.” (p 45) - Constancy of rates: pretty constant (# of suicides / population) Table1 (p 47), Table2 (p 49) Rate of suicide stable More stable than mortality Table3 (p 50) stable across countries “For this permanence would be inexplicable if it were not the result of a group of distinct characteristics, solidary one with another, and simultaneously effective in spite of different attendant circumstances; and this variability proves the concrete and individual quality of these same characteristics, since they vary with the individual character of society itself. In short, these statistical data express the suicidal tendency with which each society is collectively afflicted.” (p 51) - constancy of rates - predisposed to suicide - What does this reflect about society? Durkheim’s explanation of suicide 1. “Suicidal people” – not so credible 2. Natural landscape – the environment makes a person happy or unhappy 3. Heredity 4. Climate/Temperature – similar to 2 5. Imitation – seeing someone else committing suicide may make another think about it; seems to affect suicide but doesn’t account for the whole effect * Egoistic Suicide - Protestants there are more inclined to suicide, according to the table on p 152. - Trend persist even within a country - Being in a minority might shield us from suicide; support system, greater sense of identity, more responsibility and impact which may make the individual feel stronger, outside hostility makes the group come together tightly – Durkheim is against this
“There are even countries like the Upper Palatinate and Upper Bavaria, where the population is almost wholly Catholic and where there are nevertheless 300 and 423 Protestant suicides to 100 Catholic suicides. The proportion even rises to 528 per cent tin Lower Bavaria where the reformed religion has not quite one follower to 100 inhabitants. Therefore, even if the prudence incumbent on minorities were a partial cause of the great difference between the two religions, the greatest share is certainly due to other causes.” (p 157) “We shall find these other causes in the nature of these two religious systems.” (p 157) - Religious systems > rigorous discipline; individualism “All variation is abhorrent to Catholic thought.” (p 158) * Durkheim Egoistic suicide Protestant vs. Catholic -> Individualism separates; greater individualism in protestant > leads to less integration - interpretation of bible - less priests/authorities - free inquiry of traditional beliefs - “The more numerous the manners of action and thought of a religious character are, which are accordingly removed from free inquiry, the more the idea of God prevents itself in all details of existence, and makes individual wills converge to one identical goal. Inversely, the greater

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