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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


NUNES, Everardo Duarte. Durkheim's Suicide: reassessment of a classic from 19th-century sociological literature. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.14, n.1, pp.7-34. ISSN 1678-4464.

This paper presents a detailed review of Suicide, the sociological classic by Durkheim, 100 years after it was first published. The first part of the article focuses on the author's interest in the theme, within the scope of concerns on the importance of studying suicide dating from the 18th century. The article then presents a circumstantial review of the various chapters, preceded by brief remarks on the book's place within Durkheim's work as a whole. The third part of the article comments on the book with reference to the main authors that have studied it. Amongst other qualities, the book's importance lies in the fact that it associates an elaborate theoretical construction with the empirical data, working within the possibilities provided by late 19th-century moral statistics. The article stresses Durkheim's perspective of dealing with the impact of the macrostructures over micro-level phenomena. The distribution of suicides is also reviewed, updating information and the relationship between suicides and professional groups, for example. The paper also provides a critique of authors who stress the importance of "meanings" in the analysis of suicides, with some notes on the relationship between suicide and mental disease.

Keywords : Sociology; Suicide; Social Behavior; Death.

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