Durkheim's Suicide - how this century old research can be applied to today's youths.

Essay by devonwUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2003

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Suicide is one of the great tragedies of our time or any time, for that matter. The waste of human life is especially horrifying if it is a young person in good health, who has his/her entire life to live. For a long period in human history, it was believed that suicide was the result of non-social problems that it had to do with the individual's mental state and well-being. However, a major figure in sociology, Emile Durkheim set out to prove that suicide was the result of social forces. Even after a century, he is still considered a major figure in sociology. Known as the founder of sociology who coined the term, his work can not go unnoticed or unused. One of his better known sociological works is Suicide. Particularly, his work concerning a specific concept - suicide can not be disregarded. Suicide is "any death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows must produce this result" according to Durkheim.

In this essay, I will discuss the reasons why Durkheim wrote about suicide, the social suicide rate, the three components to his book, the four types of suicide, and the three social aspects. As well, the effect that the book has had on society well past a hundred years since Durkheim's book was first published in conjunction with the numerous comments as well as criticisms were and are still made with regards to Suicide and how this century old research can be applied to today's youths.


Born in Épinal, France on April 15, 1858, Emile Durkheim was from a Jewish family. Academically successful, he obtained a position at the university in Bordeaux where he completed several sociological works. Four years after Durkheim's work known as The Division of...