Writing Out Loud: Suicide

In Suicide, Durkheim looks at how the social order shapes something that we often think of as personal and private: suicide. After reading the excerpt, respond to the following questions.

Theme: Emergence Through Convergence


  1. Durkheim begins the reading by pointing toward high suicide rates in Vienna following a financial crisis in 1873. Then he argues that poverty resulting from the crisis cannot explain the high suicide rates. Why does he make this argument, and what evidence does he use to support it?
  2. Why does social disruption--whether “bad,” like a financial crisis, or “good” like a financial boom--leave society “momentarily incapable of exercising” its moral influence?
  3. Durkheim concludes the reading arguing that anomie and anomic suicide have become commonplace in modern society. Do you agree that anomie is common today? Why or why not? Please provide an example (in addition to suicide) of anomie from the modern world.
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