Emile Durkheim´s Four Forms of Suicide Essay

Emile Durkheim´s Four Forms of Suicide Essay

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Emile Durkheim was a French theorist who focused on different aspects of human beings including suicide. He came up with four different forms of suicide which are: egoistic, altruistic, anomic, and fatalistic. He states that suicide is always the act of a person who would much rather choose death over life, but what makes each form of suicide different is what leads the person to want to take their life (Applerouth 133). It does not seem plausible that a theory that was given in the late 1800’s can still apply to this day and age. Although there are several who believe that there is just one form of suicide, it is important not to overlook the relevance of the theories of altruistic and fatalistic suicide and how those theories still apply in the 21st century.
I. Four Forms of Suicide
Durkheim wrote a book called “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” where he discusses in detail his methodical thinking and approach to the four forms of suicide. Eugene Hynes summarizes the context of each form of suicide. He states:
“Fatalism is shown as the suicide of persons with “futures pitilessly blocked and passions violently choked by oppressive discipline”. Anomic suicides result from a failure to control the passions and are therefore angry and violent. Egoistic suicide results from too little direction toward social identity and is characterized by “dreamy melancholy” “self-complacence” and “indifference”. Altruistic suicides are committed with deliberate energy and a sense of duty, perhaps enthusiasm” (90).
The best way to think about each form of suicide is by creating a Cartesian Plane and to remember each quadrant as they will be labeled to clarify how each suicide fits into Durkheim’s theory of suicide. In Quadrant I, fatalism is assigned ...


... middle of paper ...


...he second is a more individualistic dimension and sees the suicidal act as an escape route from a situation of no hope. In both cases, as proposed by Durkheim, these feelings are a result of social regulations and integration, hence, social structure, together with an individual’s subjective point of view, both play a major role in the realm of suicidal terrorism”(420).
III. Conclusion
Emile Durkheim studied and wrote a book about the four forms of suicide in the late 1800’s and throughout this paper, it has become conclusive that the same theories that he wrote about years back still, in fact, relate to the 21st Century. An explanation was given of each different forms of suicide which were: anomic, egoistic, fatalism, and altruism. The two theories that were given in depth were altruism and fatalism and were applied and compared to the infamous suicide bombers.


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