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Lecture 4

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Soc201 lecture 4 Pop quiz- “practical consequences” by Emile Durkheim True/False 1. According to Durkheim, suicide is normal. (p.363) T 2. An increasing rate of suicide is the inevitable price of progress (p.368) F 3. Moral penalties – such as refusing a regular burial to people who commit suicide- would reduce the suicide rate (p.371) F 4. In modern society, the altruistic form of suicide is disappearing (p. 373) 5. As a new barrier against suicide Durkheim proposes the corporation (p.378) Reader- page 98 missing Suicide before Durkheim (not test material) 1. In Catholic religion 2. In French law 3. In philosophy- Michel de Montaigne Suicide by Emile Durkheim (1897) (testable) 1. Why study suicide? o A test case: (socialist party) Michels: wants equality in society. Choosing a political party where it’s least likely to find inequality. Choosing a subject matter where it seems very unpromising. o An index of social solidarity 1. Mechanical and organic  Mechanical: associated with tradition society. Mechanical as a means of repetition. So seeing the same people over and over again.  Organic: associated with modern society. Interdependence, reliance on each other and cooperation. As long as people contribute together, society will work  Solidarity: feeling of being connected to others, as part of a whole in society 2. Concept: Durkheim claims the idea of likeness, similarity 3. People feel connected to others because they see similarities 4. Durkheim says atomization does not exist because people interact 5. Not saying there is less or more suicide between mechanical or organic 6. Normal in a sense for Durkheim, that all societies have crime 7. Suicide is a normal phenomenon that it is present in all societies, what changes is not the incidence of it but what kind it is 8. Different kind of solidarity leading to different kinds of suicide 2. Rates, race and imitation o Rates as social facts  Rates (suicide rates) have a certain consistency to it. Higher this year, will be higher next year. There is a pattern over time. A super individual phenomenon, where it cannot be explain by just individual behavior  o Race: theory and evidence  Certain race have disposition to commit suicide  Criticisms:  1. Race theory presumes that race is impure. Race theory rests on a false assumption. But we cant assume that  2. Race has a fixed characteristic, predetermined  Germanic race: Germans  Celtic race: Italian, Spanish, French  Slavic:  If race is a good predictor of suicide, we would find a similarities  However, he finds variations  Germans suicide more not because of their characteristics but of civilization. In other words, society is responsible  o Imitation: theory and evidence  Imitation theory: people commit suicide because they are copy- cats  If suicide is spread through imitation, we would expect a pattern (e.g. a whole lot of dots within one place)  He examines critically 3. Social solidarity o Effects o
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