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Emile Durkheim - suicide

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Introduction

Emile Durkheim was a sociologist who contributed a lot in sociology. His major studies were the study of social facts, division of labor, study of suicide and elementary forms of religious life. Durkheim was more focus on society than the actions of individuals. He separated sociology from philosophy, and he claimed that sociology is always studied through experiment, investigation and empirically. Moreover, he separated sociology and psychology too. He claimed that sociology is an external constrain rather then an internal drive. He used social facts to describe society phenomenon and claimed that society can only be explained by social facts. He thought that phenomena is not bounded to the action of individuals. He used to think scientifically and he set up a theory from science's view. Durkheim had four major studies. First, he thought that social facts can only explained by social facts. He studied material social facts and non material social facts. Material social facts is directly observable, such as, population and legal codes. The non-material social facts is moral forces that are at least equally external to individuals, such as, values and norms. Morality is intimately related to the social structure and the moral health of modern society. Moreover, collective conscience is a general structure of shared understandings, and beliefs. ...read more.

Middle

He thought that suicide is regular, predictable and cannot be explained by individual factors. He claimed that suicide and morality are social facts and can be explained by other social facts. For example, suicide can be explained by suicide rates. Thus the reason of suicide exists in society can be explained and predicted by morality. If the standard of social morality is high, that means the restriction of society and people are high. In durkheim's suicide, reasons for suicide can be divided into two causes, social integration and social regulation. Social integration is an internal commitment to a practice. For this one, individual is integrated either poorly or excessively into society, such as religion and political condition. Social regulation is an external constraint to individuals of morality. Individuals' passion or activity is either none or extremely regulated by society. He also brought out four types of suicide, egoistic, altruistic, anomic and fatalistic suicide. In egoistic suicides, people are for own individual interest only and they are excessive individualism, which means they tended to kill themselves for their own interest. This kind of suicide usually resulted from weak collective conscience with a low social integration society and the society is tented to emphasis on individual rights and welfare. ...read more.

Conclusion

Durkheim hold to the organic solidarity argument and the non-reduction of social being to the individual but see Comte's theory as insufficient to the task of classifying and demarcating the particular elements of social being. Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher. There was a largely different between Durkheim and Spencer, for example, Durkheim disputes Spencer by claiming that if the social intervention is on the rise, the legal obligations which society imposes on its member will becoming more complex. Wilheim Wundt, one of the founding figures of modern psychology and he was regarded as the father of experimental psychology. Durkheim learnt the investigation of science from him. However, Durkheim was also affected by social and political factors. For example, The Dreyfus Affair in 1890's-1900's was related to the social morality. He helped an innocent Jews to appeal. It was a case of how the low social morality affected the society. The industrial revolutions also affected his point of view in division of labour. To sum up, Durkheim was a pioneer of the study of sociology. He contributed many ideas to sociology. There are some theories still can be applied into modern society. For example, the study of division of labour and suicide. His analysis was focused in society but not individuals. He also published rules of the sociological method which helped others sociologists to analysis and develop their study and theory. ...read more.

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