SOCA01- Lecture 1 (09/10/09)
Male income for reserve Indians = $ 30,045
Male income for non-reserveA HIATUSnifestoFound in relatively weak sociaSOCA01 – Lecture 1
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(bSocial integration, social cohesion, social solidarity are all the same.
Woman income for reserve Indians (Be gTrans-nation=l $ 28,000
Woman income for non-reserve Indians = $ 33,000
• Sociology is a couple of hundred years old.
It is the idea that you can understand society and how people interact with
each other scientifically.
• Émile Durkheim, who was a classical scientist, died in 1917.
He questioned: “Do social forces exist?” and how do they affect behaviour?
His answer: Yes! Social forces have the most powerful influence on human
• How do social forces relate to suicide? Durkheim found these connections in his
He found there are three levels of social structure, which can be demonstrated in an
inverted pyramid in order of importance:
• Suicide is regarded to be carried out only by anti-social people.
• Society is opposed to suicide, but it is social pressure and social interactions
that causes it SOCA01- Lecture 1 (09/10/09)
• Suicide is considered supremely antisocial and non-social act for three main
1. It is condemned by nearly everyone in society.
2. It typically is committed in private, far from the public’s intrusive glare.
3. It is comparatively rare (in 2004, there were about 11 suicides for every 100
000 people in Canada).
• Individual/psychological interpretations of suicide: “My spouse/partner left me,
how am I going to survive? & etc.)
• Though many people think that the psychological reasons for suicide are the
most influential, society is actually a more important reason for suicide than
• In fact, Durkheim found that as psychological disorders go up, suicide levels go
down (inverse relationship).
Found this out by analyzing European government statistics and hospital
records in France.
Durkheim says that people facing psychological stress/trauma are less likely
to commit suicide.
Therefore, he believes that social integration plays a major role. (Some
societies are highly integrated, while others are poorly integrated).
• People in society are bound together by values, beliefs, religion, customs,
ethnicity, extended kinship network, norms, etc.
• When there is high social integration, there are high levels of conformity
(everyone thinks/acts the same). That is, people are constrained; they are held
back from being individualistic.
• Durkheim says that constraint is good for society and integration. This is
because it pulls them back from doing socially inexcusable acts.
• Some societies are not integrated as well (e.g. modern societies such as
Canada) so they are said to have ‘low integration.’
• Society has a lot of subcultures, which undermine social integration.
Subcultures can be based on life cycles (infancy, childhood, adolescence), religion,
ethnicity, culture, etc.
The teenage subculture is overpowering the parent subculture. SOCA01- Lecture 1 (09/10/09)
• Complex division of labour leads to low social integration. There are
approximately 4000 different jobs in Canada, which means there are many different
occupations, which only leads to more subcultures, and thus weaker social
• If people did not interact, social solidarity would be weak.
Intense interaction: sitting down and having a group discussions
Not intense: saying “hi” to someone on the street
• When social integration is weak, you get egoistic and anomic suicide (see
graph on slide 8)
• Intermediate levels of social solidarity causes less suicide
• When social integration is strong, you get altruistic suicide.
• Individualism is a modern development. That is, in modern days, there is more
deviance from the norm, and society is more tolerant of these deviences.
• In modern times, there is more devience, crime, divorce, drug abuse, emotional
problems than traditional society.
Therefore, people aren’t as concerned by what people think of them.
• Two important terms that Durkheim used to describe solidarity were:
Mechanical solidarity: high levels of social solidarity (i.e traditional society)
Social approval is very important,
Everyone seems to know everything
Organic solidarity: weak levels of social solidarity (i.e modern society)
• Durkheim says that as we move to organic solidarity, social integration
declines, and it leaves the ego weak and exposed.
He says that a healthy ego has to have lots of social integration. It is
constrained, buried, and mixed within the group. “For a healthy personality,
it must be constrained.”
• He goes on to say that having no constraints has a bad effect on society:
Three examples of people who had no constraints and were thus vulnerable and
isolated (all of them were wealthy): SOCA01- Lecture 1 (09/10/09)
Anna Nicole Smith
He reasons, if you take constraint away, you get egoistic and anomic
• When people are tied down by responsibilities, the probability of them
committing suicide is low.
E.g. In London in WW2, the city was bombed by the Germans during the
BLITZ, and people had to sleep in the subways, send their children to the
countryside; life was horrible for them. You would think that suicide rates
would go up, but in reality, suicide levels went down because when people
face collective dangers, they bind themselves together (i.e. social
integration). Suicide levels went down significantly!
Collective danger causes social integration, so less suicide on the whole,
but lonely, isolated people commit suicide more.
Therefore, the formula for egoistic suicide is:
The lower the social integration, the higher the risk of suicide.
• Durkheim called suicide in high solidarity settings altruistic: Soldiers who
knowingly giving up their lives to protect comrades commit altruistic suicide.
• Suicide in low-solidarity settings is egoistic or anomic: Egoistic suicide results
from the poor integration of people into society because of weak social ties to
others. Someone who is unemployed is more likely to commit suicide than
someone who is employed because the unemployed person has weaker social
• Anomic suicide occurs when vague norms govern behaviour: The rate of
anomic suicide is likely to be high among people living in a society lacking a
widely shared code of morality.
Social Types and Suicide
• Canada has a high level of egoistic and anomic suicide, because people are
integrated to different levels; some highly while others have weak social
• Social type: a group of people with certain sets of traits/characteristics.
• Which social type is most poorly integrated and more suicidal?
1. MEN! Women are less likely to commit suicide than men ( because women
are more involved in the intimate social relations of family life).
Men are more poorly integrated because they are less likely to share
feelings, hopes, etc than females, so they are less likely to have deep
connections. Also, as a result of social expectations, men are more likely
to be “macho.” SOCA01- Lecture 1 (09/10/09)
• Married adults are half as likely as unmarried adults are to commit suicide
(because marriage creates social ties and a kind of moral cement that bind the
individual to society). Single people are lonely.
Durkheim looked to see i