Suicide Hardcover – 21 Oct 2013
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'Durkheim's great books are dedicated to the proposition that society transcends the individual: that our beliefs, values, dispositions and desires are often products of social forces and structures we poorly understand.' - Financial Times 'One of the acutest and most brilliant sociologists.' - Bronislaw Malinowski --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Emile Durkheim (1858 1917) was a French sociologist who formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a prior really of the first sociological/social explanations for significant individual behaviour using the example of suicide.
As the blurb says this was a phenomenon previously only considered as being psychological in nature and Durkheim doesnt ignore this, there is a good opening chapter on "extra-social" explanations and their significance, Durkheim isnt dogmatic and doesnt dismiss these out of hand but the second and final chapters deal mainly with is own theories of social construction, social interaction, pressure and consequences.
The ideas have in many ways been superseded and it cant be described as total prescient to any current/contemporary scenario as it once was (in this respect there are other sociological and psychological books dealing with fragmentation, identity and disparity). However it is a classic in sociological reasoning and explanation which students, professionals or interested readers could benefit from reading.
The text isnt as accessible and readable as some of the books in the routledge classics range but bearing with it is rewarding, its not a novel afterall but it can give some insights into the day to day and the nature of crisis and individual consequences.
In many respects this book is the lodestone for a nihilistic belief founded upon faith - a belief that capturing an "objective" reality can be undertaken, that it is required and that it is socially useful. Durkheim shows how it is done - by using state composed statistics. For him these represent a snapshot of reality. And this is the basis of the social myth and how fictions are weaved.
Ostensibly capturing "suicide" data should not be difficult, after all, there is a huge difference between someone alive and someone dead - whatever people tell you. However the way that someone dies is socially constructed.
For most cultures suicide is a taboo subject, carefully hidden and concealed within devout Catholic countries because it brings stigma to the family. Not to say stigma does not also occur within Northern European countries, but at least you get to enter the cemetery and not dumped in an unmarked grave. But then there is what constitutes a suicide - an overdose on tablets, but is this the same as drinking yourself to death or taking a heroin overdose?Read more ›
Good read for any work on Durkheim and understanding his approach on sociology and his ideas and concepts which become seen throughout all of his works.