discuss the following questions and include how you faith informs your answers:
Discussion Suicide Sociology
I’m working on a sociology discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
consider the various end-of-life issues that are raised–such as right-to-die, physician-assisted suicide, and prolonging life through artificial means. Also think of the hopeful side of aging.
In your small group, discuss the following questions and include how you faith informs your answers:
Should Terry Schiavo have been sustained on a feeding tube indefinitely?
Did Brittany Maynard do the right thing in choosing the time of her own death to avoid pain?
What irony do you see in Peggy Battin’s advocacy for right-to-die and her personal experience with her severely disabled husband?
Of the suggestions given to improve the aging process, which one might you adopt?
Suicide: A Study in Sociology (French: Le Suicide: Étude de sociologie) is an 1897 book written by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. It was the first methodological study of a social fact in the context of society. It is ostensibly a case study of suicide, a publication unique for its time that provided an example of what the sociological monograph should look like.
According to Durkheim,
the term suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result. He also believes that because of high levels of anomie there are high levels of suicide.
Four types of suicide
In Durkheim’s view, suicide comes in four types, which are based on the degrees of imbalance of two social forces: social integration and moral regulation. Durkheim noted the effects of various crises on social aggregates—war, for example, leading to an increase in altruism, economic boom or disaster contributing to anomie.
Egoistic suicide reflects a prolonged sense of not belonging, of not being integrated in a community. It results from the suicide’s sense that they have no tether. This absence can give rise to meaninglessness, apathy, melancholy, and depression.
Durkheim calls such detachment “excessive individuation.” Those individuals who were not sufficiently bound to social groups (and therefore well-defined values, traditions, norms, and goals) were left with little social support or guidance, and were therefore more likely to commit suicide. Durkheim found that suicide occurred more often among unmarried people, especially unmarried men, whom he found had less to bind and connect them to stable social norms and goals.
Main article: Altruistic suicide
Altruistic suicide is characterized by a sense of being overwhelmed by a group’s goals and beliefs. It occurs in societies with high integration, where individual needs are seen as less important than the society’s needs as a whole. They thus occur on the opposite integration scale as egoistic suicide. As individual interest would not be considered important, Durkheim stated that in an altruistic society there would be little reason for people to commit suicide. He described one exception: when the individual is expected to kill themself on behalf of society, for example in military service.
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Anomic suicide reflects an individual’s moral confusion and lack of social direction, which is related to dramatic social and economic upheaval. It is the product of moral deregulation and a lack of definition of legitimate aspirations through a restraining social ethic, which could impose meaning and order on the individual conscience. This is symptomatic of a failure of economic development and division of labour to produce Durkheim’s organic solidarity. People do not know where they fit within their societies. Durkheim explains that this is a state of moral disorder where people do not know the limits on their desires and are constantly in a state of disappointment. This can occur when they go through extreme changes in wealth; while this includes economic ruin, it can also include windfall gains—in both cases, previous expectations from life are brushed aside and new expectations are needed before they can judge their new situation in relation to the new limits.
Fatalistic suicide occurs when a person is excessively regulated, when their futures are pitilessly blocked and passions violently choked by oppressive discipline. It is the opposite of anomic suicide, and occurs in societies so oppressive their inhabitants would rather die than live on. For example, some prisoners might prefer to die than live in a prison with constant abuse and excessive regulation. Unlike the other concepts he developed, Durkheim believed that fatalistic suicide was theoretical and probably did not exist in reality.
Durkheim concluded that suicide rates are higher:
in men than women (although married women who remained childless for a number of years ended up with a high suicide rate).
for those who are single than those who are in a sexual relationship.
for people without children than people with children.
among Protestants than Catholics and Jews.
among soldiers than civilians.
in times of peace than in times of war. (For example, the suicide rate in France fell after the coup d’état of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. War also reduced the suicide rate: after war broke out in 1866 between Austria and Italy, the suicide rate fell by 14 per cent in both countries.)
in Scandinavian countries.
He also concluded that, the higher the education level, the more likely it was that an individual would choose suicide. However, Durkheim established that there is more correlation between an individual’s religion and suicide rate than an individual’s education level. Jewish people were generally highly educated but had a low suicide rate.