Emile Durkheim
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    Comparisons within a Society

    An example of this kind was provided by Durkheim in his study on suicide, which was published in 1897. He contrasted the disparate rates of suicide that were seen in the several subgroups that make up French society. As a result, the number of people who commit suicide in a given year per million people in a given population determines the suicide rate.

    Durkheim posed the following question: How does the rate of suicide differ between men and females, rural and urban populations, those who follow the Catholic or Protestant religions, married and single individuals, and people who have never been married?

    Following the categories in the question, he processed the data. He has analyzed the data on the variations that occur according to the seasons and ‘cosmic’ causes and arrived at specific findings that vary from those offered before. He concluded that the seasons and cosmic elements, such as whether it was daylight, evening, or night, etc., had very little influence on the suicide rate. However, the rate of suicide in a social group was shown to be higher in places where the social relationships were either insufficient, as in the case of egoistic suicide, or excessive, as in the case of altruistic suicide.

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