emile durkheim suicide (part ii). suicide apparently involves no social interaction so a) it can...

Download Emile Durkheim Suicide (Part II). Suicide apparently involves no social interaction so A) it can only be analyzed psychologically. B) at first sight it

Post on 17-Jan-2016




0 download

Embed Size (px)


  • Emile Durkheim

    Suicide (Part II)

  • Suicide apparently involves no social interaction so

    A) it can only be analyzed psychologically.B) at first sight it would seem impossible to analyze sociologically.C) it remains a mystery to sociologists.D) it is independent of population density.E) its distribution is patterned very randomly.

  • Suicide and Social IntegrationDurkheim argues that there is a relation between the degree of social integration and suicide. He proposes that suicide varies in inverse ration to the degree of integration of the social groups of which the individual forms a part.

  • Egoistic SuicideEgoistic suicide occurs where the individual self asserts itself to excess in the face of the social self and at its expense. The individuality of Protestantism as opposed to the socially integrated character of Catholicism would thus explain the higher rate of suicide in the former.

  • In addition to egoistic suicideIn addition to egoistic suicide arising from individuation there is a type of suicide which is also the product of lack of social integration, but is due instead to moral deregulation, or a weakening of the bonds between individual and society.Whereas in egoistic suicide it is individualism which weakens social integration, in Anomic suicide the social integration is weakened through moral deregulation.

  • Egoistic suicideProtestantism is the religious forerunner and primary source of modern moral individualism, which has in other areas of social life become wholly secularized. Egoistic suicide is thus an offshoot of the growth of the cult of personality. (Giddens, p. 85)

  • Anomic suicideAnomic suicide, on the other hand, derives from the lack of moral regulation particularly characteristic of major sectors of modern industry. Giddens, p. 85.

  • There is overlap between the twoEgoistic and anomic suicide are nevertheless closely related to one another, especially on the level of the individual suicide. [DURKHEIM] It is indeed almost inevitable that the egoist should have some tendency to deregulation; for, since he is detached from society, it has not sufficient hold upon him to regulate him. (Giddens, p. 85)

  • Economic Crisis and SuicideEconomic crises which cause poverty in turn cause a rise in suicides, but is this because they increase poverty?Actually, if voluntary deaths increased because life was becoming more difficult, they should diminish perceptibly as comfort increases. (242)So far is the increase in poverty from causing the increase in suicide that even fortunate crises, the effect of which is abruptly to enhance the countrys prosperity, affect suicide like economic disasters.(243)

  • Counterintuitive examples.On the morrow of the war of 1870 a new accession of good fortune took place, Germany was unified and placed entirely under Prussian hegemony. An enormous war indemnity added to the public wealth; commerce and industry made great strides. The development of suicide was never so rapid. From 1877 to 1886 it increased 90 percent, from 3,278 cases to 6,212. (p. 244)

  • No direct link between poverty and suicideThere is very little suicide in Ireland, where the peasantry lives so wretched a life. Poverty stricken Calabria has almost no suicides; Spain has a tenth as many as France. (p. 245)

  • Crises are disturbances of the collective orderIf therefore industrial or financial crises increase suicides, this is not because they cause poverty, since crises of prosperity have the same result; it is because they are crises, that is, disturbances of the collective order (p. 246)

  • Wealth: how much can a human being want?How determine the quantity of well-being, comfort or luxury legitimately to be craved by a human being? [] Inextinguishable thirst is constantly renewed torture. It has been claimed, indeed, that human activity naturally aspires beyond assignable limits and sets itself unattainable goals. [] To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness. (p. 248)

  • Society is a tempering force[] the passions must first be limited. Only then can they be harmonized with the faculties and satisfied. But since the individual has no way of limiting them, this must be done by some force exterior to him. A regulative force must play the same role for moral needs which the organism plays for physical needs. This means that the force can only be moral. [] Either directly and as a whole, or through the agency of one of its organs, society alone can play this moderating role. (249)

  • Society is a tempering force"Man is the more vulnerable to self-destruction the more he is detached from any collectivity, that is to say, the more he lives as an egoist." (1972, p.113 [excerpt from Moral Education])

  • Assumptions of anomie argument: the social order is just, revolution is pathologicalIn normal conditions the collective order is regarded as just by the great majority of persons. (252)Regulation is meant to restrain individual passions, it must come from a power which dominates individuals, but this power must also be obeyed through respect, not fear. (252) A state of upheaval is exceptional; it occurs only when society is passing through some abnormal crisis. (p. 252-253).

  • Sudden disturbances in the force But when society is disturbed by some painful crisis or by beneficent but abrupt transitions, it is momentarily incapable of exercising this influence; thence come the sudden rises in the curve of suicides which we have pointed out above.[..] It is the same if the source of the crisis is an abrupt growth of power and wealth. (p. 252]

  • Wealth as a source of anomieThe less limited one feels, the more intolerable all limitation appears. Not without reason, therefore, have so many religions dwelt on the advantages and moral value of poverty. It is actually the best school for teaching self-restraint. Forcing us to constant self-discipline, it prepares us to accept collective discipline with equanimity, while wealth, exalting the individual, may always arouse a spirit of rebellion which is the very source of immorality.

  • Wealth as a source of anomieThis, of course, is no reason why humanity should not improve its material condition. But though the moral danger involved in every growth of prosperity is not irremediable, it should not be forgotten.

  • Anomie and the rise of capitalismFor a whole century, economic progress has mainly consisted in freeing industrial relations from all regulation. Until very recently, it was the function of a whole system of moral forces to exert this discipline. First, the influence of religion was felt by workers and masters, the poor and the rich. It consoled the former and taught them contentment with their lot by informing them of the providential nature of the social order, that the share or each class was assigned by God himself, and by holding out the hope for just compensation in a world to come in return for the inequalities of this world. (p. 254)

  • Durkheim is not recommending a return to the past butHowever, we do not mean to propose this organization as a model. Clearly it would be inadequate to existing societies without great changes. What we stress is its existence, the fact of its useful influence, and that nothing today has come to take its place.

  • Business, prosperity, and suicideIndustrial and commercial functions are really among the occupations which furnish the greatest number of suicides. Almost on a level with the liberal professions, they sometimes surpass them; they are especially more afflicted than agriculture, were the old regulative forces still make their appearance felt most and where the fever of business has least penetrated.The enormous rate of those with independent means (720 per million) sufficiently shows that the possessors of most comfort suffer most.[] Those who have only empty space above them are almost inevitably lost in it, if no force restrains them. (p. 257)

  • Anomic suicide

    The third sort of suicide [anomic, C.A.] results from mans activity lacking regulation and his consequent sufferings. By virtue of its origin we shall assign this last variety the name of anomic suicide.

  • Egoistic and anomic suicideCertainly this [anomic] and egoistic suicide have kindred ties. Both spring from societys insufficient presence in individuals. (p. 258)

  • societys insufficient presence in individualsIn egoistic suicide, it is due to excessive individualism with roots in Protestantism perhaps

    In anomic suicide, it is due to insufficient regulation due to crisis or quick changes

  • Egoistic vs. Anomic SuicideWhereas in egoistic suicide it is individualism which weakens social integration--i.e., societys insufficient presence in individuals-- in Anomic suicide the social integration is weakened through moral deregulation.

  • Anomie"...The state of anomie is impossible whenever interdependent organs are sufficiently in contact and sufficiently extensive. If they are close to each other, they are readily aware, in every situation, of the need which they have of one-another, and consequently they have an active and permanent feeling of mutual dependence." (1972, p. 184 [excerpt from The Division of Labor in Society])

  • AnomieDurkheim defined the term anomie as a condition where social and/or moral norms are confused, unclear, or simply not present. Durkheim felt that this lack of normsor pre-accepted limits on behavior in a societyled to deviant behavior. Anomie = Lack of Regulation / Breakdown of Norms

  • AnomieA) is caused by an iron deficiency in the organism.


View more >