David Emile Durkheim was born April 15, 1858, then later passed away on November 15, 1917. He became an advanced sociologist in his time and is considered one of the primary founders of modern science, but he mainly concerned himself with societies and how they carry on with modernity and social integration. One of Durkheim’s major works was Suicide (1897), he did a complete thorough study that changed the way we view suicide, and by also helping us understand why some individuals commit to such an act. Suicide was only seen as a sick, twisted act done by a disturbed person, but Durkheim discovered that there is a connection to social factors and suicide, he found that social relationships or the lack thereof, has a great influence on an individual’s thoughts of suicide and tendencies. Social integration is the range of societies bound by social networks, while social facts cause an individual’s choice in suicide but which social facts are related to what type of suicide and is Durkheim’s findings outdated?
Suicide in Wartime
Durkheim had a finding that soldiers committed suicide more often than a common nonmilitary individual while also that the rates of suicides were lower in times of war than in times of peace. In a short empirical study by Almir Fajkic, Orhan Lepara, Martin Voracek, Nestor D. Kapusta, Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Leena Amiri, Gernot Sonneck, and Kanita Dervic, they entitled their report Child and Adolescent Suicides in Bosnia and Herzegovina Before and After the War (1992-1995) their main focal point of this study was to measure the rates of suicides in children and young adults before and after the war that started in March 1992 and ended in November 1995. They annualized data five years before the war (1986-1991) and five years after (2001-2006). During the war, suicide statistics were not recorded on record so the rates of suicide between 1992 to 1995 are not available. All unnatural, obvious deaths that required an autopsy were handled by the police and forensic department, while the suicides were handled by the physicians who would fill in the certificate that would be sent to the police and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the 5 years before the war, they found 135 young adult and children suicides, 74 of them were boys, 61 of them girls, 20 of them were just children between the ages of 10 and 14. They discovered that there were no suicides of any child under 10 years old was registered, also 14 of the suicides were not considered verified suicides because of drowning. After the war there were 65 suicides, 45 boys and 20 girls, 15 of them being only the ages of 10 and 14. The main finding the authors found with this study was that the rates of young adult and child suicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone one third after the war, just like Durkheim’s theory of suicide predicts that the rate of suicide goes down in wartime.
Types of Suicide
Durkheim had four separate types of suicide, egoistic, altruistic, fatalistic, and anomic suicide. Egoistic suicide, Durkheim consider it to be a result of lack of social integration, those who are not tied to social groups and had little to no support from others. In a scholarly article titled, From Psychological Strain to Disconnectedness A Two-Factor Model Theory of Suicide by Jie Zhang, he explained how a person with a lot of social integration should have a low chance of committing suicide, while a person with low social integration has a higher chance of committing suicide, Zhang explained Durkheim’s theory in a very easy to read way, he says that Durkheim used the idea of social integration to show that people who are single, divorced, or have little to no social interactions feel like they are not part of a community. Zhang also explained how Durkheim thought that gender had a part in an individual’s choice in suicide, that men have a higher chance at committing suicide than women all over the world, because men are more independent and free that could lead into fewer close relationships with other people while that could also lead into not seeking advice or comfort from people they are close with. So if you have no close social relationships, you are more likely to die from suicide, according to Durkheim, if you asked a person who has attempted to commit suicide why they tried, their answer will mostly be “I felt isolated”, proving what Durkheim’s theory of Egoistic suicide. However Altruistic suicide affects a person who in a large society and also has high levels of social integration, but instead of focusing on the individual’s needs, the see the needs of the whole society, Durkheim says that Altruistic rates of suicides are lower because they are often seen as not important, an example of this is the Japanese aircraft kamikaze, in World War II the Japanese had a few aircrafts filled with explosives and would make the pilot crash on to an enemy target