Durkheim's Study of Suicide

4185 Words17 Pages
Durkheim first began to work on the problem of suicide in 1888 when he offered a series of public lectures on the topic while he was at University of Bordeaux By 1897, Durkheim had published Suicide as a book length study and this constituted his third major sociological work Promoted from Bordeaux to Paris There are several reasons why Durkheim took up the theme of suicide when he did FIRST, by 1850 there was a spike in the suicide rates throughout Europe and many felt that this was associated with the development of industrial society Industrialization had advanced individualism, accelerated social fragmentation, and weakened the social bonds tying individuals to social groups outside themselves SECOND, industrial society made the economy dominant over other institutions This served to place the pursuit of self interest and private gain stage center over the collective purposes of society, accelerating social fragmentation As economic gain became the private affair of the individual, social separation and social isolation increased This set loose egoistic forces in which individuals withdrew to themselves and to the private ego in order to pursue their private economic interest THIRD, with the development of industrial society Durkheim found that the social bonds that once tied the individual directly to groups outside themselves began to decline As individualism accelerated, gaps formed between the individual and the points of social contact These gaps reduced the attachments to the family group, the religious group and the national group * Durkheim thought that the gaps that formed in industrial society were the result of declining integrative functions an that this showed up in the higher suicide rate of industrial society FOURTH, Durkheim discovered that the suicide data of different societies pointed to a direct link between higher
Open Document