Emile Durkheim- ‘Suicide’

Psychology / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
A term paper summarizing Durkheims “suicide”. It is a paper that paraphrases what Durkheim actually meant when he wrote Suicide. Each paragraph covers Egotistic, Anomie, and Alturistic suicide.

This essay focuses on the work of Durkheim entitled “Suicide. ” The author attempts to understand Durkheim’s work, the role of sociology in suicide, the ambiguity surrounding the definition of suicide and the forms of suicide.
Suicide, Durkheim’s third major work is of importance as it was his first attempt to bring empiricism into Sociology. Empiricism would provide a sociological explanation for phenomena such as suicide, which was traditionally regarded as restrictively psychological or biological. Durkheim defined the role of Sociology as comparable to Biology in natural science. Both disciplines study the normal or abnormal characteristics of phenomena, which affect the strength, or weakness of the organism. Sociology’s main focus is to study facts external to the individual (Thompson 1985:92). When the term suicide comes to mind, we do not automatically link it with Sociology. Suicide can be argued to be a mental state, which is reserved mostly for the discipline of psychology. Durkheim looks at how this perceived mental state can be brought into Sociology by looking at elements such as family, occupations and social ties, all of which are a part of society and the root of Sociology. These elements are always contemporaneous with some crisis which temporarily affects the social state (Thompson 1985:95). Looking at society’s groups, Durkheim noted that each “population had its own suicide rate, and that this rate is more constant than the general mortality”.


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