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Assess the Usefulness of Different Sociological Approaches to Suicide

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the usefulness of different sociological approaches to suicide
There are many different sociological views which approach suicide. Positivists think that suicide can be explained simply by looking at official statistics and there are distinct reasons for every suicide. Interpretists think that there is a reason behind every suicide and this can be found through qualitative studies. Realists think that there are further structural causes behind suicide. Each view is useful in explaining relationships between suicides however; none provide solid reasons behind it.
Durkheim used suicide to show that a scientific sociology was possible. In Durkheim's view, our behaviour is asocial fact, social forces found in the structure of our society. Through the use of official statistics he studied facts that shape behaviours. Suicide rates for any society remained more or less constant over time, when rates changed they could be attributed to other factors. For example, the rates fell during wartime while they rose at times of economic depression and at times of rising prosperity. Different societies were seen to have different suicide rates and within society, different social groups had different suicide rates. Two factors, integration and regulation determine the type and level of suicide. Integration refers to the extent to which individuals experience a sense of belonging to a group and obligation to its members, whereas regulation is how much an individual’s actions and desires are kept in check by norms and values.
Durkheim argues that suicide results from either too much or too little integration or regulation. He identifies four types of suicide. Egoistic suicide is cause by too little integration. Durkheim says this is the most common typeof suicide, caused by excessive individualism and lack of social ties and…...

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