Macro-micro relationships in Durkheim's analysis of egoistic suicide

Sociological Theory 24 (1):58 - 80 (2006)
Abstract
Contemporary theory is increasingly concerned with macro-micro integration. An attempt is made to integrate these levels of analysis in Durkheim's theory of egoistic suicide. Does Durkheim's theory, which is a social system analysis designed to explain differences in suicide rates between groups, have micro implications for specifying which particular individuals within the group will take their lives? In attempting to answer this question by exploring the causal linkages between integration and suicide, Durkheim's theory of egoistic suicide was revealed not to be a singular theory but rather contained several different explanations. The numerous interpretations have resulted from his incompletely specified, inconsistent, unsystematized, and inadequately tested theory. These ambiguities also account for the historically inconsistent research findings that have limited sociologists' ability to advance beyond Durkheim's century-old formulations. Further areas for new research and illustrative hypothesis are suggested
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