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Introduction to Sociology Discusses Amelia Durkheim's studies on suicides, information about suicides, and the three revolutions; scientific, democratic and industrial, which led to the development of sociology.

Course Code
Robert Brym

of 2
Introduction to Sociology
Sept 15/10
Amelia Durkheim wanted to see what was causing suicide in 1899
- Believed that depression as an antisocial action
Rate number of incidences per x amount of people, not an absolute number
- Suicide has deep social causes; it is a form of private rejection
- Women are in mental institutions twice as much as men
- An example of a group that has a low suicide rate because of a intermediate level of
social solidarity is the Jews, that through the persecution they have received throughout
their history has bound them closer to one another
Sociology strives to understand why people either act the way they do, or what constrains
their actions
- As social solidarity increases, suicide declines
Different kinds of Suicides
- Egoistic (individualistic)
- Anomic (individualistic)
- Altruistic (‘for the group’)
Where levels of extreme social solidarity exist, suicide will be extremely high
As levels of social solidarity go from low to intermediate, suicides decline, as solidarity
moves from intermediate to high, suicides increase
Durkheim believed that society needed to create new groups of social solidarity in an
effort to prevent further development of current social problems in France at that time
Sociologists strive to:
- Seek to identify behaviour or social problem that is regarded as important
- Seek to determine patters and relations that influence people to commit this behaviour
- Propose changes that can benefit society and prevent specific problems
- Ideas about what causes an issue or problem, sociologists believe there must be evidence
to demonstrate theories not speculations
- Durkheim did this, and the driving force in his argument was patters of social relations
- Durkheim believed that people can change and altar society in such a way to improve
human welfare
- In ancient times, plenty of thinkers that thought and wrote about society
- Frequently, these writers were drawing up a blueprint for future societies, instead of
actually identifying problems and offering solutions
(Picture 1617)
The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God arranged this estate’
- People in 1700’s believed that God decided peoples places in the world, which we know
today is untrue, people also believed that the richer you were, the closer to God you were
Conte was accredited with creating the term “sociology’
Three revolutions caused change as to what and how people saw society:
Scientific Revolution
- Copernicus and his views that world was not square
- Galileo and his telescope used evidence to substantiate Copernicus predictions
- Some scientists such as Hobbes started to argue that we could also have a science of
society not just nature
Democratic Revolution
- Rejection of the notion of the divine right, that God did not choose a King/Queen
- Opinion that the people allowed a ruler, ruler was not chosen, and that if the people did
not like their ruler, they could oust that ruler
Industrial Revolution
- Times were very hard, terrible conditions, people began to strike, commit crimes
- Machines then made work and life easier
- If people want change they have to force it