Émile Durkheim (1858 - 1917) (Sociology (Social Fact (Social facts create…
Émile Durkheim (1858 - 1917)
During the end of the 18th century and more than half of the 19th, France got one monarchy overthrow, several failed republics and two unsuccessful empires.
Durkheim desired to understand what caused these societies to collapse and how to prevent this from happening again.
For this, he would need a very precise theory, and thus he concluded that sociology should be a sistematic and methodic study of society in order to guarantee its stability.
A social fact is anything that is not under the control of an individual, but still facts his behavior, even if subtly.
Social facts vary greatly, from unemployment rate to family, from language to dressing rules, etc.
Social facts create
, which keeps society united and grants order.
A society with low levels of social cohesion is more likely to have higher anomic and egoistic suicide rates.
Some examples of good and bad types of social cohesion are: education, corruption, patriotism, etc.
While growing, Durkheim saw the industrialization of France, and the rise of capitalism in Europe, and thus lived to see massive changes in society.
He noticed that the more industrialized countries had the highest suicide rates in Europe and began his research on which social facts caused this.
The types of suicide
When the social cohesion is so great that the individual forgets its sense of individualism, and gives its life for its society.
Those who feel isolated or cannot properly integrate in society are more susciptible to suicide.
Since the person doesn't feel like it belongs to anything greater than itself, he resorts to inachievable individualist behavior, that only results in a greater depresseion.
When a radical change of values occurs, people feel like they don't belong to society anymore, which results in their deaths.
Religion is a factor that prevents egoistic suicide, since atheist individuals are more prone to nihilistic views.
Traditional values help give people a sense of belonging and purpose, thus helping in the prevention of suicide.