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9 Feb 2011
Sociology September 15
, 2010.
Reading: SLDI ch. 1, SiQ ch. 2 @ p. 13
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Durkheim late 19th century France: recognized most people think of suicide as a
personal & nonsocial, antisocial action
Wanted to prove suicide has very deep social causes that most people are unaware
Collected statistics for m mental institutions & government documents to see the
rate of suicide & rate of mental illness in different population of the country
Wanted to prove tha t the higher the rate of mental illness, the higher the rate of
Rate of anything is the number of cases of instances per 1000 or 100,000 people.
Not the absolute case in each categor y
Why the rate of suicide may dif fer from different categories in society: women &
men, religion (Catholics, protestants, Jews), age
Found no relationship between any rates of suicide. That suicide is the result of any
known mental illness
Women & men: women are more than twice as likely than men to be admitted to
mental illness, but only 1/3 suicide rate of men
Religion: Jews had highest rate of illness but lowest rate of suicides
The suicide rate is affected by t he level of social solidity in the groups by which one
happens to be the better
A group's level of social solidarity is determined by the frequency with which its
members interact and the degree to which they share beliefs, values & morals
Suicide rates are lowers at intermediate levels of social solidarity and highest at low
and high levels of social solidarity
Women would spend their lives taking care of society, very intimate, continuous
interaction with individuals within their immediate family
Women are involved in groups that have higher levels of solidarity
Men work in bureaucracy and they have relationships with other outside the home
however they are not so intimate
Protestants vs. Jews is based on the notion that each individual must find their own
path to god
Catholics are more collective than Protestants & therefore protestants have high
suicide rate
As social solidarity increases, the rate of suicide declines
Types of suicide: altruistic, anomic & egoistic
Believed peopl e can alter social relations in such ways to improve human welfare
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