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Lecture 2

SOCA01 Lecture 2: Introduction to Sociology; Week 2.docx

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Francisco Villegas

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Introduction to Sociology
Week 2 Notes; September 10th 2014
We live in a world constantly changing
oThese changes can have progressive or restrictive possibilities
oSociology can help make sense of it and include different perspectives
oThe world and human relations are messy and complex:
A singular framework may not have all the answers
Answers can be complicated
There may not be a “right” answer
Many facets of our societies are taken for granted or considered natural
oSocial relations are constantly changing
Often considered an individualist anti-social phenomenon
oAffected by social phenomena
oDurkheim argues that degree of social solidarity determines suicide rates
“To Durkheim, the greater the degree to which group members
share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and intensely
they interact, the more social solidarity the group exhibits (p. 6).
However, we cannot dismiss all other causes of suicide through this theorization.
oStrength of social ties does not relate to ALL cases of suicide
Mental wellbeing is important and we cannot dismiss clinical
reasons for suicide
Limited or lack of availability of mental health services speak to a
context in our social world
Durkheim and Suicide
Durkheim supported his theory by:
oShowing that married adults are less likely to commit suicide
o“Jews…are less likely to commit suicide than Christians are because
centuries of persecution have turned them into a group that is more
defensively and tightly knit” (p. 8)
oOlder adults more likely to commit suicide given waning social ties and
oWomen are less likely to commit suicide
However, women are more likely to attempt suicide
How do people develop a sense of belonging or purpose in their life? –family,
labor, community, nation, etc.
Rates of suicide
Have increased since the 1960s
oReligious attendance has decreased since that era
oUnemployment has increased dramatically
oRate of divorce has increased
Can we think of flaws in this causal theory?
Social structures
Humans are social beings and have historically developed spaces of interaction.
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