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SOCI 461 (1)
Chapter 5

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Department
Sociology (Arts)
Course
SOCI 461
Professor
Richard Koestner
Semester
Summer

Description
The Sociological Perspective -suicide appears to be an antisocial and non-antisocial act -it is condemned by nearly everyone -typically committed in private -rare -likely focus on individual’s state of mind rather than state of society The Sociological Explanation of Suicide: Emile Durkheim: showed that suicide rates are strongly influenced by social forces -examined association b/w rates of suicide and rates of psychological disorders for different groups -reasoned that psychological disorders causes suicide when suicide rates are high w/ high psychological disorders, and low w/ low psychological disorders analysis did not reveal this -found more women than men in insane asylums but more men committed suicide than females -Jews had highest rate of psychological disorders but had lowest rates of suicide -psychological disorders occurred at maturity but suicide rates increase w/ age -this relationship varied inversely -argued that suicide rates varied as a result of social solidarity in different categories of the population -the more beliefs and values a group’s members share and the more frequently and intensely they interact, the more social solidarity the group has -therefore, the more social solidarity they have, the less likely they are to commit suicide -thus, Durkheim expected high-solidarity groups to have lower suicide rates than low-solidarity group, but only up to a certain point -showed that married adults half as likely to commit suicide as unmarried adults -marriage creates social ties that bind the individuals to society -women are less likely to commit suicide b/c involved in more intimate social relations in family life -Jews less likely than Christians b/c persecution turned them into a group that is more defensive and tightly knit -elderly more prone than the young and middle aged b/c most likely to live alone, lost a partner, lack a job and friends -a person’s likelihood of committing suicide decreases w/ the degree to which he or she is anchored in society -called suicide in high solidarity setting altruistic (ex. soldiers) -suicide in low-solidarity settings is egotistic or anomic -egotistic results from the poor integration of people into society b/c of weak social ties to others -anomic occurs when vague norms govern behaviour -likely to be high among people living in a society lacking a widely shared code of morality Suicide in Canada Today: -men are 4 times as likely as women are to commit suicide -today, it is much more common among youth -shared moral principles and strong social ties have eroded since the 1960s -decrease in church, synagogue, mosque, and temple attendance (particularly among young people) -unemployment is up, again e
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