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Anelia Murray

Sociological Theory

University of West Georgia

April 18, 2010

altruistic. He had the theory of categorizing suicide into four types. so that we can know the reasons for such acts as suicide. anomic.Durkheim’s 4 Types of Suicide What is suicide? Suicide is when someone or something takes their own life for a reason that is sometimes un explainable. Modernity and Suicide . When suicide is committed. Some examples are. The four types are egoistic. negative thoughts are said about this. why do people commit suicide? What can be so bad that you would want to take your own life away? Was death the only other option to solve your problems? We all have different answers to these questions but Durkheim broke it down in a sociological way. It is a sin depending on which religion you are. There are many different questions asked when someone commits suicide. and fatalistic.

Taking regard for others is the principle of action in the act of an altruistic suicide. Altruistic Suicide is only one of Durkheim’s 4 types and this one is due to too much influence from the society. Altruistic suicides happen in societies with very high integration. Most suicides like this occur when the individual needs seem to be less important than the societies as a whole. These type of suiceds aren’t always negative. like that of a parent pushing their child out of the way of a moving car or even a police officer taking a bullet for someone to protect them. They can have the thoughts and feelings that this world we live in is actually an obstacle . There are also some that may be positive in the cause.Emile Durkheim was a sociologist who found a way to measure out concepts as "religion" and "suicide" and tie them back into society. 1982. 109). They look at everything as a whole including them. though of another sort. likewise. they. Altruism is a form of social behavior and is an act that values the outside individuals or the outside community more than they value themselves. affect the individual from without"(Thompson. "Collective tendencies have an existence of their own. no matter if it directly or indirectly to be a positive act or a negative act of the person engaging in the suicide. they are forces as real as cosmic forces. Some examples may be kamikazes and Muslim bombers. Durkheim believed that suicide was a word that could apply to all cases of death. The expectations of a person who kills themselves for someone or a community are looking for results that are usually beyond this world.

because they ambivalent on the issue of suicide. This is where they may state that human conduct and motivations encouraging them can’t be explained thoroughly without connections to the values and norms of culture. .and by dying they will complete it. but there also some religions who encourage suicide. Hinduism is one of the religions that may somewhat encourage suicide and make death seem like it’s not really the end of life. They may preach to their members that death isn’t the end of life. It’s all about hope and faith.000 million Hindus in the world. It is so much criticism on trying to label these people and actually figure out the real cause of why they are altruistic. Hindu philosophies of reincarnation and karma mean. Its kind of hard to know the exact motive for Hindu’s and their religion. because after death they really don’t know if things were like they pictured it before committing suicide. making it easier for them to go through killing themselves or dying for a cause of their religion. Critics have shown that altruism is obviously between single persons and in social situations where people are completely out of the loop genetically. This type of suicide can go hand and hand with religions. There has been debates among many Sociobiologists that if altruistic behavior really have its roots in self-interest. which are mostly in the Indian subcontinent. that for Hindus. There are an estimated 900. Many people who are very dedicated to their religion may feel so strongly connected with them that they sacrifice their life for them. because of the mind having this unconscious belief in protecting their genetic heritage. Many religions are against suicide and believe that it is a sin.

Although this ritual is now illegal. (Bhugra 2005). In the centuries of Hindu religion they have some rituals that’s were done after some deaths at the funerals. as death leads to rebirth (Hassan 1983. Research has indicated that males have higher rates of suicide than females and the majority of suicide attempters studied had a psychiatric diagnosis (Latha et al. gender. One of the rituals was the practice of Sati is. it is still being practiced in some areas of the Indian subcontinent (Kumar 2003). which is a ritual act of suicide in which the widows self immolate on the funeral pyre of their husbands. There has been research done trying to figure out if the women who engage in such a intense ritual have a psychiatric disorder or not. it is not a religious act nor is it related to psychiatric illness. This has been taken to some as Hindu being more tolerated towards the issue of killing oneself. 1996). but so far there has been no results of saying the women have this disorder. There has been information found that the rate of suicide is higher than does not end at death. This ritual act is more of a form of suicide that is more related to social. Although there is very limited research on suicidality and Hindus. and cultural factors (Bhugra 2005). it was found that Hindus usually have a less focus on moral objections and survival and coping reasons for living than the Muslims (Kamal and Loewenthal 2002). It has been examine through studies that suicide beliefs and behaviors among the Hindus and Muslims who are living in the UK. Although Sati has often been done by Hindu’s. . Ineichen 1998).

This insert from the Qur’an explains on the feelings towards someone who decides to go against it. “The blame is only against those who oppress men with wrongdoing and . The people who die for their country or religion are also hurting innocent civilians in the mist of trying to live up to their society. Although suicide is forbidden in Islam. It is so much influence from the people around them for them to actual go through with killing themselves along with others who have nothing to do with them..In this ongoing battle between the United States and Iraq is the scary disturbing acts of suicide bombers. What we don’t know is that in Islam. Muslim bombers are known to be a type of an altruistic suicide and have been heard of all around the world.. but this still doesn’t give great reason to why suicide attackers choose such a deadly tactic to show their love for what and who they worship. Events such as 911 and things happening in the Middle East are very disturbing to all of us. for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful. Furthermore the Qur'an actually warns the people of Islam who decide to make others feel uncomfortable or go beyond the bounds of what is right and what is wrong. If any do that in rancor and injustice. soon shall we cast him into the Fire." (Qur'an 4:29-30). Most of the time the suicide bombers are Muslims and children who have been forced or have volunteered to be used to sacrifice their life for something supposedly good. It is said in this way "O ye who believe! [Do not] kill yourselves. It has been said that religious rhetoric can persuade attackers that their reason for doing this is necessary or loyal to their god. they still claim that they received a message from their God calling them down to sacrifice themselves. suicide is forbidden.

Cults can also have a huge toll over someone and can cause them to want to take their own life or be forced to kill themselves. which was a town that was built in the middle of the jungle in another country so that he and all of his people were secluded from everyone else in the states. but more organized and more legal. For such there will be a chastisement grievous (in the Hereafter)" (42:42). so there has been research on trying to figure out if all suicide bombers have some kind of psychiatric disorder. It all started at “People’s Temple”. which was Jim Jones church. defying right and justice. It is something like a gang. Researchers have came to the conclusion that religion neither causes nor explains why there has been so much suicide terrorism. The ending if Jonestown is a very good example of altruistic suicide.insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land. All in all this is still a form of altruistic suicide. This tries to give an explanation to express how their religion is not the one to blame for the Muslims and the children who decide to participate in altruistic suicide. It says that the only person to blame is the person who is doing the oppressing. although something’s done in a cult could be against human rights. Jim Jones was the creator of Jonestown. whether they were influenced by their religion or by the people around them. which makes it confusing and makes you wonder about the suicide bomber. They were still overly influenced by someone or something to make them feel like taking their lives is serving a form of justice in what they believe in. Cults usually have strange beliefs different from the normal person. He had ways of using . Although they would say that they are sacrificing themselves for their God. He had a church that was filled with minority members.

These people really wanted to have better lives and Jim Jones made them feel like that there wasn’t anything better than being a member of The People’s Temple. Everything seemed good to them and they felt like this was the place for them. Jim Jones used external social control by having fake healings. because they felt like things weren’t as though they should be. etc… There were people joining the church from left to right. People seen this and started to believe in Jim Jones. He had everybody working and doing jobs so much around the church that the members barely got any rest. He also had a woman in a wheel chair who was pretending to be paralyzed and then one day during service she started walking and running. This was something internally that members had because they had self control to not go to sleep and do their . where it all started. Mexicans. The People’s Temple was a black church with a white pastor. All they wanted was to live a happy life. A lot of members felt like they shouldn’t sleep because then it would mean that they are going against their cause and not being productive. Due to lack of sleep. They were all convinced that they were going about making a change the right way. they couldn’t think for themselves correctly. This was a church full of people who all wanted to make a change. He had someone act like they were blind for a long time and then one day he acted as thought he healed the woman in church one day and now she could see.forms of social control to bring in a lot of African Americans. and this is where Jonestown formed from. Jim Jones became their thinker and basically started to make their decisions for him. but not knowing that things were going to turn out the way they did. college students.

He made them all drink kool-aid wit poison in it because he felt like people have turned on them and now they all have to die for the revolution. Even though many religions may not preach suicide but in some kind of way people are feeling . At the end everybody who was there in Jonestown on that particular day was killed. a lot of them felt like there was no reason to live so they injected themselves too and everybody laid there with their families and died together. so regardless of their moves they were going to die. Jim Jones always made them feel like they were under attack and they had to become stronger and not let anything get in the way of their cause. In the end they all committed altruistic suicide except the babies who had to be fed the poison. He made them all feel separate even from their families. Hr used tactics like this to gain more control over instead. It amazes me how someone or something could have such a negative control over someone tricking them into feeling like killing themselves for their beliefs is the right thing to do. After seeing their kids die. He didn’t allow them to talk to the other members freely because he didn’t want anyone else to have an effect on their choices except him. People knew that Jim Jones would be upset if they didn’t drink the kool-aid because he would make them feel like they were down for their cause. If they were to try and run away they were going to be shot down. He made the mothers inject their children first so they could watch them die first. The members of this cult had no choice on drinking the poison or not. Religion can have a very strong effect on someone in being altruistic. so that he could have all say so over what they do.

There some types of altruistic suicide that may be considered as good deeds or just doing their job. loving parents of their kids. and soldiers who are battling for the United States. Officers may play a part in altruism. All forms of altruistic suicide aren’t bad or negatively cause. Cults also build this type of relationship with its members making them feel like those things will be better once they have committed suicide and died for their though there are signs from their God telling that what they are doing is the right thing to do. .