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Word Count: 537
Durkheim distinguished between types of suicide according to the relation of the actor to his society When men become detached from society when they are thrown upon their own devices and loosen the bonds that previously had tied them to their fellow they are prone to egoistic or individualistic suicide When the normative regulations surrounding individual conduct are relaxed and hence fail to curb and guide human propensities men are susceptible to succumbing to anomic suicide To put the matter differently when the restraints of structural integration as exemplified in the operation of organic solidarity fail to operate men become prone to egoistic suicide when the collective conscience weakens men fall victim to anomic suicide In addition to egoistic and anomic types of suicide Durkheim refers to altruistic and fatalistic suicide The latter is touched upon only briefly in his work but the former is of great importance for an understanding of Durkheims general approach Altruistic suicide refers to cases in which suicide can be accounted for by overly strong regulation of individuals as opposed to lack of regulation Durkheim argues in effect that the relation of suicide rates to social regulation is curvilinear-high rates being associated with both excessive individuation and excessive regulation In the case of excessive regulation the demands of society are so great that suicide varies directly rather than inversely with the degree of integration For example in the instance of the Hindu normative requirement that widows commit ritual suicide upon the funeral pyre of their husbands or in the case of harikiri the individual is so strongly attuned to the demands of his society that he is willing to take his own life when the norms so demand Arguing from statistical data Durkheim shows that in modern societies the high rates of suicide among the military cannot be explained by the deprivations of military life suffered by the lower ranks since the suicide rate happens to be higher for
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