Emile Durkheim- Suicide
The Sociologist Emile Durkheim has helped my understanding of suicide in contemporary society. Emile Durkheim Was born in 1858 and died in 1917. He was a French Social Scientist who looked at all the different aspects of society e.g. division in labour, anomie, suicide… etc. All of which he goes into great detail in his many books. (Durkeim, 1897). There are many different ways to discuss suicide but Durkheim categories suicide into 4 sections; Egoism, Altruism, Anomie and Fatalism. In this assignment, Egoism and Anomic will be discussed in detail as they are considered as the most relevant in contemporary society. According to recent figures, Ireland has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe for men between the ages of 18 and 39. This is a serious problem Ireland cannot ignore. During this essay Altruism and Fatalism will be briefly commented on.
Durkheim when defining suicide stated “suicide is applied to every case of death which results directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act, carried out by the victim himself, knowing that it will produce this result “. (Durkheim, revised 2004) However from my analysis his book ‘Durkheim on Suicide’ I picked up that he doesn’t look at the larger society, but rather looks at one or two societies, for example England and Italy. As each nation could have a different reason not have a high or low suicide rate. Durkheim prominently looks also on how Protestants have a higher suicide rate than Jews and Catholics. He explains how “The immunity of Catholics” was because they had a lesser degree of religious and “excessive individualism”. This was mainly because of the strong relationship of the catholic church and its people. (Durkheim, 1897) At the end of the chapter on Egoistic Suicide, he looks back on egoism and he states firstly that “science is the remedy for the ill that makes the rise in suicide symptomatic, but it is not the cause” and secondly “If religious society protects against suicide, this is just because it is a strongly integrated society”. In a simpler manner while the protestants felt like they were detached from society, the Catholics had the stronger integration in society.
Egoistic suicide, as Durkheim describes it, is a part of today because we have such an diversely integrated society currently. I will look at suicide and men in my own society, i.e. Modern Ireland. Many families were brought up during an era in Ireland with certain expectations such as the importance to grow up and have a stable job, a nice...