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Suicide: The Hidden Side of Modernity
     

Suicide: The Hidden Side of Modernity

by Christian Baudelot, Roger Establet, David Macey (Translator)
 

In this major new study Christian Baudelot and Roger Establet provide a timely and wide-ranging account of the changing nature of suicide in the world today. The suicide rate is soaring in the former Communist bloc, in India and in China, which now has the highest female suicide rate in the world. This rise coincides with those countries accelerated entry into a

Overview

In this major new study Christian Baudelot and Roger Establet provide a timely and wide-ranging account of the changing nature of suicide in the world today. The suicide rate is soaring in the former Communist bloc, in India and in China, which now has the highest female suicide rate in the world. This rise coincides with those countries accelerated entry into a period of brutal modernization. In the developed countries of the West, suicide rates are rising fastest amongst young men and those social groups that are furthest down the social scale. How can we explain these trends and what do they tell us about modern societies?

The social impact of suicide has preoccupied sociologists from Emile Durkheim onwards. For Durkheim, the rising suicide rate was an effect of the rise of modernity and the individualism, growing affluence and increased anomie that accompanied it. Baudelot and Establet draw upon Durkheim and his successor Maurice Halbwachs to argue that classic sociological theories of suicide require some modification. The link between suicide, affluence and individualism is more complex: suicide rates do reflect broad social trends but they are also influenced by the structural position and lived experience of small social groups. The notion of social well-being is demonstrated to be a key factor in changes in suicide rates. Whilst it is well-known that sociology cannot explain why individuals commit suicide, the suicide of individuals and the micro-groups to which they belong can tell us a lot about the societies in which they live.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authors are successful in using the admittedly rare phenomenon of suicide to explore the structure and dynamics of life in contemporary societies and reveal the some of the problems associated with marginalization in a (post)modern world."
British Journal of Sociology

"The general argument is illustrated throughout by a considerable amount of empirical data and rich case studies of a wide range of topics ... The willingness of two sociologists to accept the validity, legitimacy and value of different disciplinary perspectives on suicide is as refreshing as it is unusual. I am less pessimistic than Baudelot and Establet appear to be about the possibility of achieving a genuinely inter-disciplinary approach to researching and understanding suicide. If this book contributes to the realisation of this dream it will have served a very useful purpose indeed."
Sociology of Health and Illness

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745640570
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/22/2008
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Christian Baudelot is Professor of Sociology at l'Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Roger Establet is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at l'Université de Provence.

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