Assess Different Sociological Explanations of Suicide

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess different sociological explanationsof suicide Suicide can be defined as the killing of oneself intentionally or death that occurs as a sequel of intentional self harm of undetermined intent. There are thousands of sociological studies and explanations of suicide- Emile Durkheim's being the most influencial. Although some disagree with Durkheim's choice of research methods and analysis, most do agree that the study of suicide should be take a societal rather than an individual approach. According to Item A, other sociologists, such as Douglas, discuss the social meanings attached to suicide. These other sociologists are interpretivists and their approach is contrasting to that of Durkheim's, which positivists seek to build upon. Suicide is ubiqutious as there is no period of history with no record of suicide, and there are no societies where suicide does not occur. It has also been studied for an extremely long time, for example Mazayrk produced a study of suicide in 1881. Positivism is the belief that society can and should be studied scientifically. This approach believes that the goal of sociology should be to produce laws to explain the observed patterns in human behaviour. Before presenting his own sociological explanation of suicide, Durkeim examined several other theories. For example, Durkheim rejected psychological theories of suicide. Although he accepts that some individuals may be more pyschologically predisposed to suicide than others, he does not believe that psychological factors can explain the differences in the suicide rates of whole groups or societies. Durkeheim observed that suicide rates differed greatly from one society to another but usually stayed stable within each society. Therefore indicating that decisions to commit suicide might be influenced by the type of society in which people
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