SOC479H1 Lecture Notes - The Sociological Imagination, Mechanical And Organic Solidarity, Moral Relativism
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When social integration is weak or social solidarity is low, it tends to be weak in modern societies, than
certain types of suicide increase.
When social solidarity becomes too high, as it is in pre modern societies, you get altruistic suicides
Medium levels least amount of suicide – as shown on the graph
Egoistic suicide – modern individualism, Durkheim says when we are too individualistic this causes a
great damage to society and suicide rates increase. More crime, deviance , WEAK SOCIAL INTEGRATION
High solidarity = mechanical solidarity
Weak solidarity - organic solidarity , people are not concerned in what people thing, people don’t crave
the social approval of others
“It’s better for people to speak ill of you than not speak of you at all”
Durkheim – decline of social integration, leaves behind the ego & social personality
- When social integration declines, this leaves the ego open to suicide.
- A healthy ego needs to have social support.
- If you don`t have social support than you ..
- We need to have a sense of belonging.
- When an ego is constrained it concerns itself in the conscious `collectif`
- When people face common threat, social solidarity increases.
o Suicide rates wen`t down
What social type in Canada is most poorly integrated
Social type –specific set of characteristics.
Men commit more suicide than woman,
Women attempt suicide more than men, (women can try drug overdose, men shoot themselves)
`Macho` Men keep things bottled up – can lead to more suicide
Males are less integrated socially than woman.
Social characteristics come into play including religion and ethics.
suicidesingle people are also more likely to commit suicide as they are not part of a social union
Protestants commit the most Toronto has ethnic segregation, protestants isolated away from religious
community (don`t go to church) causing weak social solidarity
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University graduates have higher suicide rates than non graduates
Morale relativism – have standards of what is right and what is wrong so morality is relevant
Suicide rates varied as a result of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different
categories of the population.
Showed that married adults are half as likely as unmarried adults are to commit suicide as
marriage creates social ties and a kind of moral cement that bind the individual with society.
Women are less likely to commit suicide than men as women are more involved in the intimate
social relations of family life.
Jews are less likely to commit suicide than Christians.
Elderly commit more suicide then young and middle aged (loss of spouse etc.)
Suicide is increasing since 1960,s especially with Canada’s youth
o Church, temples, mosque attendance is down, particularly among young people
o Unemployment is up, especially for youth.
o Rate of divorce is increasing, births outside marriage are more common.
In summary, social solidarity is lower then it was a few decades ago, especially
among young people.
An important step in broadening our sociological awareness involves recognizing that three levels of
social structure surround and permeate us.
1. Microstructures are patterns of intimate social relations, formed during face to face
interaction(families, friendship circles, work associations)
2. Macrostructures patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of intimates
3. Global Structures are patterns of social relations that lie outside national level, including
international orginazation, economic relations between country, patterns of worldwide travel
Sociological Imagination is the quality of mind that enables a person to see the connection between
personal troubles and social structures.
The sociological Imagination was born when three modern revolutions pushed people to think about
society in an entirely new way
1. Scientific Revolution began about 1550, encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the
workings of society must be based on solid evidence (suggested that a science of society was
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