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09/04/2019

Why is suicide a compelling sociological issue?

QUESTION
Why is suicide a compelling sociological issue?
Why is suicide a compelling sociological issue? In my sociology class we are writing essays on this topic. I am looking for someone to help me break this question down and come up with some valuable arguments and answers. Thanks!!

ANSWER
Because it affect social dynamics. Suicide rates do show a certain state of the society as a whole. Seeing this issue from a psychological perspective (the state of the individual) is, of course, very important, but the sociological perspective should definitely be considered as well.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim carried out a famous research on this topic, showing why suicide can’t be seen only as a problem of an individual. He tried explaining the rates of suicide in different societies and times by observing the different degree in strenght of the social solidarity (bounds that keep people together). If the bounds are too weak, people will feel insufficiently connected to the society, which will make them more likely to commit suicide. Also, if they are too strong, the suicide rates will once again be in rise, because people will lose the impulse for self-preservation.

Durkheim distinguished two different types of social bounds (integration and regulation), deriving four types of suicides (egoistic, anomic, fatalistic, altruistic) based on the strenght or weakness of the two. You can read more about his work on this subject here: http://durkheim.uchicago.edu/Summaries/suicide.html

Good luck with your essay, and I hope this information helps a bit!