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What can the study of suicide tell us about relationships in society?

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What can the study of suicide tell us about relationships in society? Suicide is usually defined as the deliberate killing of oneself. One of Durkheim's best known books is his book called 'suicide' (1897). In this study of suicide Durkheim illustrated that suicide was meant to be one of the most individual acts a person could ever do but he shows that this act was still socially shaped within different 'groups'. Durkheim backed up his work by methodology, for example, through statistics etc. He saw suicide rates as social facts and he showed how suicide rates varied from one group to another and from one social situation to another within his Suicide study. He paid close attention to the following factors; religion, family relationships, war and peace and economic crisis. Durkheim went further into his research and came up with the following four concepts; Egotistic suicide, Altruistic suicide, Anomic suicide and fatalistic suicide. These concepts were defined by the level of social integration and regulation. Some may argue that Durkheim's study Suicide can be difficult to understand. For example, Douglas says, "One of the reasons for the difficulty in interpreting Suicide is that the work itself is very confusing, even to the point of including contradictory theoretical arguments. ...read more.


Individuals have many different types of relationships within society. These relationships can be through different networks such as; religion, gender, ethnicity etc. Durkheim's work on suicide went more in-depth with these points. "After an exhaustive analysis of how suicide rates varied over time by nationality, religion, occupation and marital status, from town to country, by age and s*x, and by other social characteristics." (Wallace 1973:vii) This quote shows that different suicide rates may depend on certain social 'groups' you are in. Within these groups, relationships are developed in society and may affect an individual. In my opinion, religion/culture is a serious point that needs to be considered when talking about suicide, society and the relationships within society. It has been documented that Asian women are more likely to commit suicide than many other 'groups'. One reason why this may be the case is because of the difference in culture, tradition and norms for Asian women. The idea of arranged or forced marriages may be a factor to take into account. Statistics have shown that suicide rates were higher predominately within Protestant countries than in Catholic ones. ...read more.


Oblative is to do with joining a loved one for example. A change in circumstance within society for an individual can affect an individual like Durkheim explained with his concept of anomic suicide. This is because people are used to certain ways within their society and once those ways are changed within society an individual could feel uncomfortable and turn to taking their own life because they feel it is the only way to solve their problems. In conclusion, I feel there is a lot more to discuss in relation to suicide and relationships because you have different people with different types of relationships. You have religious relationships, cultural values, social relationships, relationships with family, and the specific individual's relationships within education, with peers and so on. Even though Durkheim's study of Suicide is one of the most important sociological studies, there are some points that need to be taken into account when reviewing the work. Halbwachs did support Durkheim's study but he criticised the fact the study didn't look at the impact of rural versus urban lifestyles on suicide rates. Also, Gibbs argued that he didn't use scientific to a more complex level even though he did stress how significant they were. He also noted that it is difficult to measure what 'normal' levels of regulation and integration are. ...read more.

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