Functionalist view of suicide Essay examples

1446 Words Dec 2nd, 2013 6 Pages
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess different sociological explanations of suicide. (21 marks)

Suicide is the intentional taking of one's own life and sociologists over the years have tried to put forward various explanations for why someone may do this. Within sociology there are many different views on suicide on the causes and explanations for it, these come from two main methodologies which are Positivists who believe that sociology is a science and they should aim to make causal laws on suicide rates, compared to Interpretivists who believe that they should look for meaning behind occurrences and certain individuals experiences before the suicide. Other perspectives also put in their views on what they believe to
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Douglas is inconsistent at times, suggesting that sometimes official statistics area product of the coroner’s opinions and other times we can really discover the causes of suicide. This further implicates that question that revolves around a death that was it a suicide in the first place? There is no further information to go on other than the coroners. However, the medical knowledge was limited in the 19th century and autopsies were rare. Similarly, most countries lacked the sophisticated modern administrative system needed to collect and complete reliable statistics on a national basis. As a result, because the study lacked reliability, it becomes difficult to conclude that suicide is caused by social facts as Durkheim had suggested.
Douglas also criticises Durkheim for aiming to categorize suicide in terms of their social causes. He argues that death should be classified according to its actual meaning and to do this, qualitative methods should be used to analyse the possible causes of death. That way, we can build up a classification of suicide meanings.
As Douglas takes the interpretivist approach, the interpretivist explanations of suicide aim to study suicide in a non-scientific manner unlike the positivist explanations. They reject using statistics to look at why people commit suicide and prefer to try and understand the meanings behind why they

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