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Emile Durkheim's theory of suicide

Emile Durkheim's theory of suicide, developed in the 1800s, is directly related to the contemporary discussion of suicides among law enforcement personnel. Theorists have attempted to account for the causes of suicide since Durkheim put forth his explanation in 1897. However, regardless of the theoretical basis, suicide appears to be the result of a combination of factors. The eclectic, multicausal approach used today to explain suicide includes social, psychological, and biological components. Although revisions have been suggested by other theorists, Durkheim's theories are as relevant today as when he began his work in this area over a hundred years ago.

Emile Durkheim, a former French education professor, is considered the founder of modern sociology as an academic disciple. The primary focus of Durkheim's theory of suicide centered on the involvement of the individual with society. Durkheim embraced a concept of society as a moral construct maintained through the subjection of egoism by developing common or collective consciousness-conscience. As a result of this socialized construct, religion or any comparable system of beliefs and values, provided the infrastructure for the relation between the individual and society. Relative social contextualization of human understanding, whether religious or scientific, forms the basis of Durkheim's view. Problems arise when such beliefs and values are not inculcated into each individual as traditional social forms collapse and modern alternatives are not encouraged to counteract the resulting alienation (Durkheim 24).

This sociological approach stressed that different types of suicides are produced by different social circumstances. Durkheim established three primary types of suicide: egoistic, altruistic, and anomic. Egoistic suicide occurs when individuals lack adequate integration into or involvement with society. Individuals who are not involved in society and it...

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Emile Durkheim's theory of suicide. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 12:20, October 31, 2014, from http://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1707314.html