Towards a clinical portrait

Authored by: Carlos B. Saraiva

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292


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For Émile Durkheim (1897), the term suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act practiced by an individual, an act which the victim previously knew would have such an outcome. Suicide would result from the changes in the rural world, that is, it would present itself as a consequence of industrialization, qualifications, civilization. The French sociologist valued two dimensions in the attempt to understand the phenomenon of suicide: integration and regulation. Integration meant the social relation which connects the individual to the group and regulation the degree of external constraint on people, the common norms people live under. A theorist of social facts, which should be regarded as things, and of a collective consciousness, for the author, any human behavior, from feeling to thinking or acting was determined by society. Hence, the macro social facts were essential to the understanding of the phenomenon of suicide, disregarding everything that goes on in the psyche of the individual as an isolated member of society.

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