Tag Archives: egoism

Blog # 3: Rules of the Sociological Method & Suicide (Durkheim)

Durkheim idea of crime is a very interesting subject. As he mentioned, crime cannot be completely gone because it is needed to reaffirm the rules or the social order of society for what is right and what is wrong.  I have not realize that life is like a game, where you can make the rules and the consequence. It is interesting to understand that even if there is little crime, there is some type of balance order because there cannot be a place where someone needs to rob food for their family.

Durkheim mentioned that we inherit the acts we perform in society, such as education. In my opinion, having objectives in to conform every day without any way of your control has made by the life that have been given buy you. In addition, our actions or decision sometimes is based on the outside influences, such as our neighbors or our group of people we hang out with. Also our inner thoughts will become a strange or foreign that because of the influence of other people that allow us to conform to what it is.

Another social issue that Durkheim looked into is suicide. He mentioned that suicide does not happen in areas that have a lot of alcoholism but in areas that lack social and moral regulation (interaction). Social interaction is important in communities because people feel that they are part of something important and they are involved in something that can give them pleasure and another kind of satisfaction. An example of social need of someone is a job team work building workshop where people need to need to have a trust of its neighboring worker to get the job done.

The two things that Durkheim notices that was missing in people who commit suicide, as I mentioned before is social integration and moral regulation. He states that is egoism and anomie. People who live in cities usually do not have anyone with them close and they live alone, which they are likely to commit suicide (egoism). People who do not have any morals to guide them, lost souls I can say who do not have the goal to move forward or do not know what direction to go, usually commit suicide (anomie). It is pretty interesting that suicide back in Durkheim period is similar to what todays similar ideas of someone killing themselves. In the New York Times there was an article that discussed that middle-aged Americans committed suicide often in the past decade. “In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,3654 suicides”(Parker-Pope NYTIMES, 2013), the difference of these 2 deaths is about 5,000. It is hard to believe that Americans in the ages of 35-64, men and women, are willing to kill themselves. Sadly, suicide is a stigma a lot of people do not want to talk about. However having a discussion and understand the issues each individual had to go through would shed some light for the reasons they wanted to end their lives and make us, the future people for making decisions in society, not make the same mistakes or help people out.

Also, as a personal note, thinking about suicide is something I think many people thought of, including myself. However, it is easy for one person to give from all the stress and the unknown road that is taken without the support of other people is pretty hard for one person to hold on their shoulder.



Edles, Laura and Appelrouth, Scott. 2010. SocioloticalTheory in the Classical Era: text and readings 2nd edition. Pine Forge Press Sage Publications.

Parker-Pope, Tara. New York Times (ONLINE). (2013, May2). “Sucide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.” Accessed on Feburary 24, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/health/suicide-rate-rises-sharply-in-us.html?_r=0


Post # 2: Durkheim’s theory on suicides

At first I thought it was strange for Durkheim to believe that through his analysis, suicide rates increased through sociological terms, rather than psychologically. However, as I continued to read on about his perspective on these occurrences of suicides in different societies, I was able to understand his explanations on how suicide rates mostly increase. When Durkheim mentions about social crisis that lead to suicides, this made me think of an cause and effect. For instance, if a person became isolated at home, work, or even through a relationship- this may effect a person’s mind to think negatively, which possibly leads to depression. Therefore, even though Durkheim does not necessarily mention the effects of one’s mind that was caused sociologically, it all interrelates by having one to first go through a circumstance to then be psychologically effected.

An example of this connection, in an anomic and egoistic suicide, would be an unexpected big win in the lottery. People would believe that winning the lottery will change their lives for the better. However, this drastic change could make matters worse because of their unpreparedness. A person may become socially disconnected with many because of his or her lack of trust on others. Personally, just thinking about what I would do if I suddenly won the lottery, overwhelms me- so to me, its not surprising that many commit suicide through this situation because one should also be mentally unstable.

Blog #3: Intro to Suicide: A Study in Sociology

Durkheim not only revealed that individual pathologies are rooted in social conditions; he also showed how sociologists can scientifically study social behavior. He argued that the places with the highest rates of alcoholism and mental illness were not the areas with the highest suicide rates. Rather, he affirmed that suicide rates are highest when and in places where individuals lack social and moral regulation or integration. He also argued that traditional and modern societies differ not only in their rates of suicide, but in the types of suicide that are common as well. He used the term anomie to refer to a lack of moral regulation and the term egoism to refer to a lack of integration of the individual into the social group. Durkheim believed that these conditions, in the extreme, pathological form express themselves as egoistic suicide and anomic suicide.

Durkheim saw that egoistic suicides (due to a lack of integration) was evident statistically, in that there are higher rates of suicide among single divorced and widowed persons than without children than there are among married persons with children. I was stunned at first to discover this, but then as I sat down and really started thinking it made perfect sense. Though having a spouse and children may seem or actually be stressful, it also gives a person a good support system. They have loved ones to lean on and to share their deepest emotions and feelings with, which in turn, protects them from committing this egoistic suicide. Durkheim also argued that egoism helps explain why suicide rates are higher among Protestants than among Catholics and Jews. He believed this is due to Protestantism emphasizing an individual relationship with God (that the individual is less bound to the religious clergy and members of the congregation). He emphasized that is not the Catholic doctrine that inhibits the act of suicide; rather he said it is Catholics’ social bonds, which makes sense. Their association with the priests, nuns, and other lay members of the congregation, prevents them from this act. Thus, protestant rates of suicide are higher because Protestants are more socially and spiritually isolated than the more communally oriented Jews and Catholics.

Durkheim also viewed modern societies as “chronically” anomic (characterized by the lack of regulation of the individual by the collective). The norms of society are not strong enough to guide one’s behaviour or to identify what’s attainable and what’s not. When society lays down certain culturally desirable goals that one is unable to, with his or her means, to attain those goals, they then experience anomie and might commit anomic suicide. The occurrence of this suicide might occur during periods where the authority of the family, the church, or the community may be challenged. However, Durkheim affirmed that anomie can result not only from “bad” social change, such as losing a job, but can occur from “positive” social change as well. This is clear with an example of when one wins the lottery. At first I was puzzled because when thinking of the lottery I think of how it might solve so many problems that a person might have. So many people spend a great deal of money playing the lottery just because of this idea that one day all their problems might be solved. But then it became more apparent how Durkheim would interpret winning the lottery. In Durkheim’s view, he would propose that when one wins the lottery they no longer have to work and in turn don’t know what to do; they start to think about things that they never thought about before such as the meaning of life. This feeling of a person not knowing “what to do” and “how to act” is a state of anomie. It is clear now to me why winning the lottery might lead a person to suicide; the person would have so much free time on their hands, resulting in so much thinking, which could drive them insane and ultimately lead to anomic suicide.

–Nicole Rizzo

Blog#6: House of Sand and Fog

The film “House of sand and fog” that we viewed in class had so much to do with what Durkeim and Weber’s key concepts were outlining so many centuries ago. When it comes to Durkeim, anomie is very apparent in the film. Anomie stresses the lack of moral regulation. Colonnel Behrani was abusive towards his wife. This made her have great anomie and she was petrified of him. Also, Behrani grabbed Kathy by the arm with great force and left a mark. He clearly lacks moral regulation.

Egoism is also present here or the lack of integration into a social group. Kathy hears her brother’s wife is pregnant and they are starting a family. Kathy feels as if her life isn’t up to speed and her husband left her so she doesn’t know where she fits within society. Also the Behrani’s aren’t sure if they are going to be deported back to Iran or not based on Officer Lester Burton’s threats. Sacred and profane issues are also present. The home is sacred to both Behrani and Kathy. The Behrani’s don’t want blood drippings or dirt in their home and Kathy doesn’t like people smoking in the home. The home connects these two different persons and it becomes their identity in a way.

Profane issues are present because they are following a routine of working and providing for themselves (the protestant ethic). Authority is also present which is Weber’s concept. The officer exercized his authority by threatening the Behrani family with deportation due to the housing situation. Class and status issues are also present. Col. Behrani is used to being of higher standing in Iran. He’s used to people adhering to his agenda. Kathy isn’t used to not having a home because she inherited this house. Both people are exemplary of Durkeim’s and Weber’s key concepts.

Blog 4: Suicide: Why are young Latina’s at risk?

There are many social/cultural factors that make young Hispanic women particularly vulnerable to suicide. First off, Hispanic women have the second highest dropout rate in high school, highest rates of depression, highest rates of teenage pregnancy as well as drug usage. These are four huge detrimental statistics but why is this happening? Cultural clashes with parents, social isolation, and poverty are part of the problem. This is a public health issue. High teen birthrates leads to dropping out of high school to take care of their newborns. There is an immense amount of pressure put on them. It’s essentially babies raising babies and before they can even figure out who they are as people they have to put a baby before themselves. They lose their sense of identity here.

They don’t really feel American but they are second generation Latinas so they don’t feel their traditional roots either. They are lacking that sense of belonging/identity so Durkeim would probably relate this to egoism or the lack of integration of the individual into a social group. He could also relate this to anomie (lacking moral regulation) because moral regulation refers to norms and it is not the norm to have a baby as a teenager and not finish high school. This is the new created norm.

Latinas are caught between the old world and the new world essentially which leads to cultural tensions. With young Latinas, they have to conform to traditional values that their traditional families want to uphold and the lack of discussion about the use of contraceptions or the discussion of sex in general also relates to lack of anomie. Many Latinas have Catholic religious pressures to deal with as well. If your not discussing sex, your not having it. This is invalid. It’s almost like abstinence pledges that don’t work. It’s better to discuss alternatives because most teens will end up having sex at some point due to peer pressure and their own personal wants for compassion.

In America, there is tremendous freedom. Sometimes too much freedom isn’t a good thing and people don’t know how to control these new found freedoms. They become rebellious and sexually promiscuous. Their parents cant relate to them because they aren’t growing up in America. This relates to the culture clash. Mothers and daughters are growing up in different countries and times have changed in general.The moms also are against contraception because they think this encourages sex rather than educating their daughters they block them off completely. This obviously isn’t an effective method. These cultural and social factors lead to high depression rates which makes young Latinas question their existence and once this occurs they don’t see the point of continuing a meaningless life therefore they commit suicide. This is the unfortunate reality of this situation.