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The three types of suicide:

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Unread 02-13-2007, 10:43 PM   #1
hsiw
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Default The three types of suicide:

Did ya know... there are three types of suicide according to Emile Durkheim in his study Suicide. They are egoistic, anomic, and altruistic suicide. They get a bit confusing but here is the book's explanation. Egoistic suicide is when people become detached from society and are overwhelmed by stress (an example being living on their own for the first time or retiring). Anomic suicide is when you suffer a dislocation from society based on your norms and values no longer being true (an example would be police officers killing themselve after Hurricane Katrina because they felt hopeless or samurais that fail and want to spare their families embarrassment). It is a disappointment in your society that leads you to feel without worthy. Altruistic suicide is when individuals are strongly connected to society and feel that their death would be a favor and duty to the society (an example is suicide bombers or the 9/11 terrorists). Egoistic is the most common in the U.S. What do you all think?
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Unread 02-14-2007, 02:43 PM   #2
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I think the egoistic being the most common makes sense. Stress reasons encompass lots of meanings.

Thanks wish, I didn't know any of that and it's very interesting.

Anomic suicide description makes me think of the people who killed themselves when the stock market dropped during the great depression.

And well, the altruistic ones...we hear about them on the news every single day from Iraq. Problem is, they keep taking innocents with them.
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Unread 02-17-2007, 04:38 PM   #3
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Hi wish,
I guess you're reading this because it's part of one of your courses you're doing?

What do we think? It's a very huge topic, wish. I've thought and thought and then thought some more and it's a somewhat difficult question to answer. I've tried at least 5 times already to reply, but your post isn't very easy to answer without going into pages and pages of dialogue. What do I think on an emotional level with what he found, or what do I think on a less emotional level? I can reply more easily on the facts rather than from my own emotions, but I'll maybe add some of that at the end if I can.

Durkheim lived in the last part of 19th century so he probably wrote this around the end of that or the beginning of the 20th century. I have often seen Durkheim referenced in scientific papers regarding suicide in quite recent times. I know he was a Sociologist. I guess that's why the word "society" appears so many times in the explanation from the book. lol

I would wonder what Durkheim would think in this day and age. Would the facts he collected be similar? Would he add on more *types*. Where and how did he collect the data to come to these conclusions in the darkness of France at the end of the 19th century. I know he's also written a lot about religion and apparently was bought up in a Jewish family but at some stage he dabbled with being Catholic but ended up being agnostic................. hmmnn.
[I think that one of his findings had something to do with more people of the protestant faith committing suicide than those who were catholic?}

Ok, putting religion aside, I still wonder how he came across all this data. I mean, how does one really know why a person kills themselves. It's like he's looked at it all from a level of their place in society rather than what the person was really feeling or thinking that brought them to a place where it was too difficult to go on. I also can't really equate the part of what he called altruistic suicide as being like the 911 terrorists.

I would wonder how much the breakdown of the traditional family unit in our society might have a lot to do with that. However, I don't really know what suicide rates are like in societies where there is a more community based or family based situation, apart from places like Japan, where actually the suicide rate is very high, but things have changed there a lot in the last century and the household of the extended family is happening less and less and perhaps that's one reason that people are becoming more isolated and over stressed.

[edit to add: plus there appears to me having been there a number of times, and that certainly doesn't qualify as knowledge, but I get the impression of a certain level or need for perfectionism. I do know for a fact that places like Japan and South Korea and some other Asian nations have extremely strict and harrowing hours of education. So having said that, perhaps that pressure or those pressures add on to the societal changes that are evolving and become totally overwhelming for some. And that's another thing. Some people can deal with pressure a lot differently from other people because of the makeup, whether genetic or environmental, so that's something else I don't understand whether Durkheim talked about or even thought about way back then in the 19th century.]

I also wonder at the feeling of a certain lack of control that we all feel in changing things, fixing things, moving ahead etc. Is that feeling of lack of control something to do with Durkheim's *types*? I would wonder how much Durkheim knew about certain religions and cultures where life and death are seen somewhat differently.

I wonder a lot of things, but really still don't know how to answer your question. I wonder what all the different schools of philosophy, psychology and psychiatry have to say about Durkheims theories and how they stand up today? Like, is this what they still think, or have his theories been added on to or changed to fit the changes of the 20th and 21st century?

OK, now I'm waffling, so better stop. I still have too many questions and no answers.

Does it really help to know these things/facts that Durkheim spent so much time thinking about?

Did Durkheim have any solutions? Maybe I need to read what you're reading to make my own conclusions.

A heck of a lot has changed in the last century about medical conditions as well. It wasn't all that long ago that people were institutionalized for conditions that these days can be better understood and accepted than like even in the 1960's and '70's, so it sure has changed since the 1800's.

I think this could be one of those never ending stories...
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Unread 02-17-2007, 05:06 PM   #4
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wish,
I just went away and looked up *Durkheim and types of suicide*. I came across another one of his *types*. Fatalistic suicide.

4. Fatalistic Suicide. When regulation is too strong, Durkheim considers the possibility that "persons with futures pitilessly blocked and passions violently choked by oppressive discipline" may see no way out. The individual sees no possible manner in which their lives can be improved, and when in a state of melancholy, may be subject to social currents of fatalistic suicide.
http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/o26f99.htm

I sort of see that as a little surprising. If this was indeed the case, why is it that people like my own father who was a prisioner of war for almost 4 years didn't kill himself. It seems more to me that during the time of oppression that people might tend to fight more for life and freedom, sadly to come crashing down when that freedom has been attained.
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Unread 02-17-2007, 07:02 PM   #5
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When I think of suicide, I often imagine the individual who decides to remove him or herself simply because they see no point to their existence. They see death as inevitable anyway, and the unknown number of years between the present and the time of their death as nothing but empty space filled with waiting. Which category would this type of person fit in?
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Unread 02-17-2007, 08:31 PM   #6
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Hi Idealist,
Not sure if you're asking wish or myself or Emile Durkheim or the universe, but to me they're all ... suicide. Personally, I don't really understand what use it is for him to have divided up *types*. They don't even seem to me to be very emotional reasons, more to do with society. I just don't understand him at all. It all seems so lacking in emotion somehow, but then I guess if all scientific papers were written from an emotional perspective, we still wouldn't get the right answers.

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Unread 02-17-2007, 11:08 PM   #7
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I started to click the "Thank You" button on Idealist post and decided that ...
well ...... thank you wasn't what I wanted or meant to say. I think I mean to say I understand or I agree .... something like that (((Idealist)))
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Unread 02-18-2007, 06:04 AM   #8
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Well I never did respond to Wish because for one, I didn't/don't understand what Durkheim says and my husband used to teach the stuff.

What category does an impulsive suicide fall into?

A rose, by any other name............

It is, what it is and we'll never know for sure because they aren't here to tell us.. . WHY?
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Unread 02-21-2007, 10:24 PM   #9
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Well... I am amazed by the responses, and the depth you went into Lara, and I would love to respond and give my opinion on the matter but instead am stalling for an exam on that material that is tomorrow. I remembered this post when studying 1 minute ago and came to check on it.

I was thinking of this place earlier when I got a phone call from my mother's best friend who called to let me know her brother (my mother's friends) committed suicide last weekend. He was a surgeon and had difficulty adjusting to Hurricane Katrina which wiped out his home and left him with marriage problems and working overtime at the hospital. What category would this fit into? Impulsive, similar to your description Alffe, another bad mix of alcohol and a gun in the house. I'm guessing Anomic & Egoistic combined. But what really is the purpose of knowing this information? Does it solve anything? No. Does it make any difference at all? No. They are interesting to note but also... I think these categories are rubbish too Lara because they can overlap. And well, to be honest, my entire Sociology class is b.s. too where my teacher promotes Scientology through every lecture and discusses anti-psychiatry which just messes with my head after 4 years of Psychology courses. Well... back to studying. I will come back and post more another day.

*hugs for my friends.
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Unread 02-22-2007, 07:34 AM   #10
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Good luck on the exam today Wish. I'm sorry about the surgeon..life is challenging to put it mildly.
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