Durkheim: "Suicide and Modernity"

Human animal has both physical and non-physical appetites that require fulfillment.

The physical ones tend to have built in feedback systems — eventually one gets full, even of chocolate.

But no similar internal regulation is available for intangibles. "…the more one has, the more one wants…"

No way that regulation of same can come from inside. Must be "some force exterior to him."

"A regulative force must play the same role for moral needs which the organism plays for physical needs. This means that the force can only be moral" (83.1).

POINT: society as regulator, attenuator. Cf. Freud, Hobbes.

84 (social facts) : there is no society without such regulation; it varies over time and place

84.7 legitimacy

85: crises in society change the level of social regulation.

POINT: we (sociologists) do not explain individual suicides — we explain suicide rates — individuals as "canary in a coal mine"

Q: How could both economic booms and economic depressions lead to increases in suicide rates?

86 "Poverty protects against suicide because it is a restraint in itself." … "Wealth, on the other hand, by the power it bestows, deceives us into believing that we depend on ourselves only."

  1. Egoistic suicides : weakening of bonds that integrate individuals into collectivity: in other words a breakdown or decrease of social integration. Name comes from idea that it's about "excess individuation" — unmarried males » married women
  2. Altruistic suicides : too much integration, individual less important than the society. Military service, suicide bomber, jumping on the grenade
  3. Anomic suicides : moral deregulation and lack of legitimate path to fit in with society. Relatively infinite desires and disappointments.
  4. Fatalistic suicides : oppressive societies with too much regulation: death preferred to life as it is.
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