Assess the usefulness of different sociological approaches to the study of suicide Approaches to the study of suicide in sociology are divided roughly into two different types. There are positivists approaches suggested by sociologists such as Durkheim and interpretivists such as those suggested by Atkinson and Douglas. This essay intends to consider the usefulness of these two opposite approaches to the study of this topic. Durkheim was one of the earliest sociologists to study suicide; he suggested that suicide was not just an individual act that it was influenced by wider social issues. As a positivist, Durkheim took a scientific approach to studying suicide and used official statistics to study the topic and considered these to be social facts.
Anomie theory provides an explanation of the concentration of crime. The theory leans on one founder of sociology, Emile Durkheim, who used the term to describe the lack of social regulation as one manner that could evaluate higher suicide rates. Durkheim stated that he observed that social periods of disruption brought about greater anomie and higher rates of crime, suicide, and deviance. Some people may lose sight of what is socially acceptable and have difficulty in dealing with society. This theory is also sociological in its emphasis on the role of social forces in creating deviance.
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.
This synthesises with the idea created by Durkheim that when the collective conscience of a society is destroyed then crime becomes inevitable a state of anomie. This idea of crime being inevitable when the collective conscience of society is broken is supported by the work of Dennis. He developed the concept of the moral fabric of society. He suggested that the break down in marriage and the changing role of women in the family led to the marginalisation of the father. He also believes that there has been a decrease in the moral condemnation shown towards men who leave their families.
Sutherland’s differential association theory imputes the cause of crime to intimate social contacts and learnt behaviour (Bernard, et al., 2010 p.180). Sutherland made criminologists aware of “white collar criminals” by introducing the term and by making society aware of middle and high class criminals and crimes (Sutherland, 1983). When Sutherland originally attempted to publish his book on white collar crime the Indiana University and Dryden (who the f is Dryden?) demanded the removal of names from his book, due to possible backlash it would cause and alienation of the wealthy businesses who contributed to the university (Sutherland, 1983). His book was eventually published in 1949 without the names of companies he accused of committing criminal behaviour (Sutherland, 1983).
Both crime and deviance are violations of social norms (scn.org). There are many theories to explain why people commit crime, but to explain crime as a social construct the theories of Emile Durkheim, Robert Merton and Howard Becker are closely related. Emile Durkheim’s theory of anomie was introduced in his book “The
DESCRIBE AND CRITICALLY EVALUATE ANY BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF VIOLENCE/HOMICIDE One of the main problems faced by criminologists is explaining why certain individuals commit crime and especially violent crime. Biological theories focus on the individual offender, positing an inherent predisposition towards criminality. Theories based on individual positivism fell out of favour in the early 20th century but have seen something of a resurgence in recent years due to the advances in genetics and this essay will explore whether there is a genetic contribution to crime through looking at twin studies. Twin studies involve the comparison of criminality among monozygotic (MZ) or identical twins and dizygotic (DZ) or non identical twins (Brookman, 2005). ‘Whereas MZ twins are identical in hereditary endowment, DZ twins are no more alike genetically than common siblings’ (Dolgard and Kringlen, 1976, p.213).
Eysenck has conducted personality and genetic studies which support his theory., criminals and non-criminals were compared and crimples were found to score more highly on the P and N scale. Murray supports this stating that the main cause of crime is lack of intelligence which is a biologically predetermine factor, however Lilly et al states that IQ different account for less than 3% of differences in offenders. Furthermore Eysenck’s theory only explains spontaneous crime such as joyriding and not crime which is predetermined such as serial killers who many plan their kills in advance. Right realists also believe that offending is more likely due to inadequate socialisation. 70% of young offender come from lone parent families.
Durkheim conducted research; he compared suicide rates from different countries and highlighted an individual suicide rate for each country and then validated that the rate was created on the basis of statics to certain groups, i.e. sex, age, religious beliefs. He used official statistics in order to present through a functionalist theory which sociology could add to an understanding of suicide. Although Durkheim conducted a well-known research there are many limitations when using official statistics. This is evident in Durkheim’s work as he was interested in the relationship between both suicide and religion.
Suicide rates are higher in the divorced and widowed than in single people, who in turn have higher suicide rates than married people. This protective effect of marriage on suicide is stronger for men than for women, although it is found for both men and women (Gove 1972). The strong association of divorce with suicide is found at the societal level as well as at the individual level. For example, nations with higher divorce rates have higher suicide rates, U.S. states with higher divorce rates have higher suicide rates and, within nations, years with higher divorce rates have higher suicide rates. This association is probably the most robust association found in suicidology.