Durkheim’s Theory of Suicide: Application to Japan

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Undergraduate Dissertation

Durkheim’s Theory of Suicide & A ; Its Deductions for Our Knowledge of Suicide-Pacts in Modern Japan

Abstraction

The undermentioned research paper investigates the recent phenomenon of ‘suicide-pacts’ among immature Nipponese via the cyberspace, and considers the extent to which this new phenomenon can be attributed to the increasing influence of Western civilization, economic system and media upon Nipponese life. The probe applies to this phenomenon of suicide-pacts the main dogmas of Emile Durkheim’s authoritative 1897 sociological probeSuicide: a work that distinguished three cardinal types of self-destruction —egocentric,selflessandalienated— and sought to demo how breaks to the historical stableness of a society, and to its degree of societal integrating, could bring forth spikes in suicide rates. Japan has historically held really different moral and philosophical impressions of self-destruction than those known in the West ; in Japan self-destruction was until late regarded as a baronial and selfless act undertaken for the greater benefit of one’s authorities or community. But if this historical Nipponese attitude to suicide may be classed as egocentric or selfless, so the present type of self-destruction as seen in suicide-pacts represents a major crossbeam into the part ofalienatedself-destruction. This present research seeks to bring out the grounds for this displacement of attitude. For this intent, interviews were conducted with five Nipponese pupils in a modern British university for the intent of detecting these students’ ideas on the aetiology of suicide-pacts in modern-day Japan. The chief inquiry of the probe being:Are these suicide-pacts the direct consequence of alterations in Nipponese society ; or, are they the merchandise of single fortunes unrelated to modern-day Nipponese societal conditions?

Abstraction

Section 1: Introduction

Section 2: Literature Reappraisal

Section 3: Methodology

Section 4: Ethical Issues

Section 5: Aims & A ; Aims

Section 6: Suicide Conflict Model

Section 7: Sample Questions

Section 8: Results & A ; Analysis

Section 9: Decision

Section 10: Bibliography

Section 11: Appendixs

Section 1: Introduction

Towards the terminal of 2004 Japan was victim to a batch of group self-destructions in the signifier of ‘pacts’ arranged by Nipponese young persons via the cyberspace ; in 2005 the figure of self-destructions had risen to 91 and the phenomenon today shows marks of increasing in future. At the clip the phenomenon was foremost reported, the Nipponese media and other international intelligence organisations [ 1 ] revealed that 26 people, alarmingly all under the age of 25, had met through cyberspace ‘suicide clubs’ . It was reported that cyberspace chat-rooms had been used by these young persons to seek for other similar-minded individuals with whom they might ordain their coveted self-destruction. This present research paper has its beginnings in a individual inquiry:what factors, sociological or otherwise, can actuate individuals in the prime of life and with bright hereafters before them, to hunger so ardently an terminal to their lives in the manner reported above?Are there case in points in Nipponese and world-history for self-destruction of this sort, or is it modern behaviorsui generis? A idea invariably borne in head by the present writer throughout this probe was that Far Eastern attitudes to suicide by and large, and Nipponese attitudes in peculiar, bear a different moral and philosophical grade to the one known to the West. The Western attitude to suicide is still dominated by the Christian instructions, wherein it is proclaimed as an ageless and inviolable wickedness, for which the performing artist will give up entry into the Kingdom of God. Historically Nipponese civilization has afforded suicide a aristocracy and selfless quality lacking in the Western attitude. Might so these present suicide-pacts be understood in this historical context? Or is the Nipponese historical reading of self-destruction of a quite different kind to that of the present suicide-pacts? One factor that points to the ulterior reading is the age of those perpetrating suicide — all of them being less than twenty five old ages of age.

This thesis will postulate that the main factor behind this phenomenon of suicide-pacts among the Nipponese young person is due to the increasing incursion of Western media and civilization into Nipponese life — this foreign inflow doing the decomposition and destabilization of Nipponese society and ways of life. Ostracised from their ancient Nipponese traditions, and yet being denied full engagement in the modern Western experience, Nipponese childs are left in a societal oblivion devoid of rigidness, stableness and significance, and therefore a province prone to bring forthing such extremes provinces of societal behavior as suicide-pacts. The present writer has developed this thesis in relation to his ain experience of being a Nipponese individual turning up in a Western university environment and in a Japan penetrated of all time farther by Western influence. Therefore in replying this research inquiry, the present writer hypothesizes that every bit good as the socially historical cultural influences towards the general attitude of self-destruction in Japan, a outstanding and equal influence comes from the West, through cultural homogenization, which has contributed to this recent batch of self-destructions treaties in Japan.

Therefore a cardinal contention of this thesis is that every bit good as single psychological motives a powerful agent set uping these suicide-pacts is societal ; more specifically the changed fortunes and historically unweighted conditions of Japan today. In this regard, it is natural to utilize Durkheim’s authoritative sociological probes into self-destruction, as described in his seminal work of 1897Suicide,to assist better understand its modern-day manifestations. This present research therefore seeks to take Durkheim’s theories and use them to its ain theory for explicating the recent batchs of self-destructions in Japan. From Durkheim’s study the undermentioned points will be of seminal involvement to the present probe.

( 1 ) Suicide was a turning job in Europe in the 1850s and many felt, like Durkheim, that it was associated with the development of industrial society.

Japan is the taking industrial society in Asia and arguably in the field of electronics, it is globally pre-eminent. Industrialization means development and influence from the West, which has besides given rise to accelerated individualism and the atomization of societal bonds in Japan.

( 2 ) Durkheim wrote that this single liberty and therefore the addition of political freedom led the ‘single to go the Centre of society and name into inquiry the really nature of corporate societal intents’ ( Jacobs, 1971: p.2 ) .

Nipponese people are renowned for their ethic of hard-work in a society that is extremely structured and organised. Their traditional moral moralss derive from a more feudal lineage of Samurai and Boshido that puts great accent on Honour, Duty and Loyalty. However, with Western influence, particularly with the younger coevalss, it has helped to give rise to this single realization and therefore name into inquiry the really nature of their corporate societal intents.

( 3 ) Durkheim argued that ‘individuality leads to societal disintegration that could be examined sociologically by looking at the mechanisms in society which link persons to societal intents outside themselves’ ( Morrison, 2003: p.163 ) . Besides Durkheim used empirical grounds to associate self-destruction to societal factors such as industrial alteration, business, household life and faith, which in bend served to concentrate attending on society and societal establishments instead than on psychological factors. Durkheim stated that societal causes of self-destruction precede single causes, therefore presuming all single causes of self-destruction are the same, or at least can be categorized ; this later eliminates the demand to look at the person. Durkheim provinces, ‘the causes of decease are outside instead than within us, and are effectual merely if we venture into their domain of activity’ ( Morrison, 2003: p.163 ) .

However, Durkheim’s sociological theoretical account of self-destruction is non free of unfavorable judgment, and it will be borne in head throughout the presentation of this thesis that by utilizing empirical informations he was seeking to set up the “aetological over the “morphological” attack by trying to consistently discredit the latter’ . [ 2 ] By this Durkheim focused early probes into self-destruction on the causes of self-destruction instead than the formation of the indispensable features of self-destruction, whereby Morrison goes on to state ‘An account of self-destruction rates based upon the impression of comparative deficiency of societal integrating is of no aid whatever in explicating, expecting or forestalling the self-destruction of any peculiar individual’ ( Jacobs, 1971: p.2 ) . However in defense mechanism of Durkheim his survey was of societal self-destruction ‘rates’ and non a survey of self-destruction.

Following in Durkheim’s footfalls, this thesis seeks to set up a societal cause or account of self-destruction with regard to the recent phenomenon amongst the Nipponese young person of suicide-pacts arranged via cyberspace. Unlike Durkheim, this thesis does non use empirical grounds — as it does seek to be assumptive in nature — but instead depends upon interview studies. By following a ‘qualitative’ attack with in-depth interviews it is hoped that the research consequences will be given greater flexibleness in footings of their findings.

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Section 2: Literature Reappraisal

General Literature

Naturally, this thesis depends most to a great extent upon the plants of Emile Durkheim himself. Above all, thoughts and theory for this research are drawn from Durkheim’s seminal 1897 textSuicide( Durkheim, 1897 )a text which would for decennaries be regarded as a specifying minute in the empirical probe of societal phenomenon. Nonetheless, inSuicideDurkheim’s probe does non of class discuss in item the phenomenon of self-destruction in Japan ; it of course makes no mention either to suicide-pacts or to their agreement via the cyberspace. Likewise, there is small inSuicideto explicate how suicide might impact people of such a immature age as are take parting in these treaties.Suicideis used so in this present research as an general lineation of alone importance for the societal aetiology of self-destruction ; the thesis turns to more recent and more specific literature to explicate the peculiar idiosyncratic characteristics of suicide-pacts in Japan. As to the dependability and relevancy of writing, non merely is Emile Durkheim one of the most august figures in the history of sociology ; besides,Suicideis widely considered to be one of his most pioneering and important plants. Therefore, more than one hundred old ages after its original publication, this text retains profound relevancy for all probes into the phenomenon of self-destruction in all of its manifestations.

The undermentioned points fromSuicideshall be of peculiar relevancy to the present research.

After replying the inquiryWhat is Suicide?, at which point Durkheim introduces the differentiations betweenknowingandunwilledself-destruction ( Durkheim, 1897: p10 ) , and the mintageintentionallyas a mediating term, he so proceeds to except from his probe those ‘extra-social’ factors which might under certain fortunes contribute to a peculiar case of self-destruction. Having cleared-away these extra-social factors —single psychological pathology / fundamental lawandnatural environment( Durkheim, 1897: p.10 ) being the two chief signifiers of these — Durkheim returns to separate three types of socially-conditioned self-destruction:egocentric self-destruction,selfless self-destructionandalienatedself-destruction ( Durkheim, 1897: p. 12 ) . The first class of self-destruction is peculiarly apt to spiritual influence, and Durkheim used the illustration of Catholic, Jewish and Protestant self-destruction rates in Western Europe to show how the former group, being more tightly bound by the spiritual rites and the Holy Eucharist, had a lower self-destruction rate than the more spread Protestant group.Egoisticself-destruction is non nevertheless straight related to suicide-pacts in Japan, and so is non discussed farther here.Altruistic self-destructionis an first-class name to harmonize to suicide as it was historically practiced in Japan ; the term refers to Acts of the Apostless of self-destruction undertaken for the intent of accomplishing a higher good and so in this sense was closely related with the ‘nobility’ of life so prized by the Samurai and Boshido throughout Japan’s recent history ( Sasaski, 1978 ) . The prostration of this manner of life and its traditions, and therefore the decomposition of Japan’s ancient societal constructions leads to an addition in individualism, to societal disjointedness and therefore to the prevalence in Japan today of Durkheim’salienatedclass of self-destruction ( Durkheim, 1897: p. 16 ) .

Durkheim defined alienated suicide therefore: ‘Anomic self-destruction, as we have seen, is the effect of the individual’s insufficient or inordinate integrating within the society to which he belongs’ ( Durkheim, 1897: p.16 ) . Durkheim alludes here to a cardinal dogma of his sociology: the belief that every society must hold a ‘regulatory system’ of beliefs and cultural patterns that steady it and give it equilibrium. When this equilibrium is disturbed by rapid or extended societal alterations so society loses its healthy ordinance and self-destruction rates increase dramatically. Since Japan’s amazing economic miracle of the 1950’s onwards, suicide rates escalated quickly because of a profound displacement of ordinance ; since the economic recession of the mid-1990’s self-destruction rates have rocketed farther to 30,000 yearly. The specific phenomenon of suicide-pacts is a manifestation within the Nipponese young person both of economic convulsion, but, even more pressingly, of an ‘uprootedness’ from Japan’s traditional manner of life.

Literature Specific to Japan

As was noted in the above subdivision, one restriction of Durkheim’s work with regard to the present probe is its cardinal focal point upon self-destruction in Western Europe ; to grok the idiosyncratic and peculiar societal factors that influence the phenomenon of self-destruction in Japan 1 must confer with more recent and specific literature.

Of such literature, a recent survey by J. Young ‘Ethical motives, Suicide, and Psychiatry’ ( Young, 2002 ) is most utile for its description of self-destruction within a specifically Nipponese context. Young argues that the philosophical footing for sing the ego in Nipponese society day of the months back historically to the Hagiographas of Confucius who advocated a life of dutifulness, obeisance, and trueness to one’s group — qualities that are finally of greater significance than the freakish wants of an person. Furthermore, Young establishes the different construct of the person, where in the West the construct of the person is independent and in the East ( Japan ) the person is conceived as socially embedded. Thus Young provinces in his debut:

‘In this paper, I argue that within the Nipponese societal context, the act of

self-destruction is a positive moral act because the values underpinning it are

straight related to a socially permeant moral belief that any act of self-

forfeit is a worthy pursuit.”

( Young, 2002: p.412 )

In ‘Suicide and Attempted Suicide’ ( 1964 ) Erwin Stengel high spots even more explicitly the really nature of self-destruction explicitly as a societal act.

‘Suicide appears to be the most personal action an person can take, yet societal relationships play an of import portion in its causing and it has a profound societal impact. While it seems to take entirely at destructing the ego, it is besides an act of aggression against others. The survey of self-destruction illustrates that human action, nevertheless personal, is besides interaction with other people, and that the person can non be understood in isolation from his societal matrix.’

( Stengel 1964: 01 )

Furthermore Stengel so extracts the act of self-destruction out from within the single by dividing ‘the act of suicide’ from ‘intention’ .

‘Self-destructive behavior non associated with the thought of decease is non suicide.’

( Stengel 1964: 02 )

So the act of suicide is non suicide unless purpose can be proved. This is debatable since the inquiry arises as to how can intention be genuinely proven if the individual is dead. Does this non intend so, that suicide genuinely lies within the kingdom of individuality and that it is a phenomenon that we can ne’er truly explain? However subsequently Stengel so offers ‘Social Isolation’ as the common denominator as the overruling factor correlated with high self-destruction rates, [ 3 ] insinuating once more that self-destruction can be explained in the societal context. Other important texts that contributed to the present research paper’s apprehension of self-destruction in Japan include: S. Kurosu’s ‘Suicide in Rural Areas: The Case of Japan, 1960-1980’ ( 1991 ) , K. Kurauchi’s Durkheim ‘s Influence on Nipponese Sociology ( 1990 ) and S. Kurosu’s ‘Suicide in Rural Areas: The Case of Japan, 1960-1980.’ ( 1991 ) .

However, the above literature alludes to the type of self-destruction historically practiced by the Japanese. What of the type now witnessed in the signifier of suicide-pacts? J. Jacobs ( 1971 ) ‘Adolecent Suicide’ and Mamuro Iga’s ‘Suicide in Japan and the West, Evidence for Durkheim’s Theory’ ( 1986 ) are of considerable aid here. Iga’s survey revises Durkheim classs of self-destructionEgoistic, Altruistic, Anomic ­and adds a 4th class of Fatalistic self-destruction. The first two classs are associated with excessively much or excessively small societal integrating and the latter two are associated with excessively much or excessively small societal ordinance. Iga used empirical informations much like Durkheim to set up that the Japanese are subjected to Anomic ( excessively small ordinance ) self-destruction due to unregulated aspirations, peculiarly those of working category Nipponese work forces. The findings showed there was grounds of many instances of Anomic self-destruction in Japan that correlates with Iga’s theory, furthermore this was mirrored with statistical grounds found in the West. Mamuro Iga’s attack and methods are similar to Durkheim’s and in making so, he has successfully found a correlativity in suicide rates between the West and East ( Japan ) .

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Section 3: Methodology

In order to happen an account for the recent batch of self-destruction treaties in Japan, it was decided that unstructured interviews with a random sample of five Nipponese pupils aged 19 to 25 from ( ? ) University would be undertaken. From face-to-face taped interviews, transcripts would be drawn, and a comparative analysis utilizing a discourse analysis would be used to research how the pupils construct the significance of self-destruction and individualism.

( ? ) University is ideal for the present author’s sample of pupils as it allows entree to many immature Nipponese grownups. Each pupil was to be indiscriminately approached by the writer during ( ? ) University gap hours. The pupil would hold to fulfill three chief standards before being accepted: one, they must be Nipponese, irrespective of outer visual aspect, ( for favoritism intents ) ; two, they must be within the age group 19 to 25, and, thirdly, they must hold merely been resident in England for the last two old ages. The 3rd standard is particularly of import as the Western ( English ) influence may pollute the students’ positions and credibleness. Once the pupils met the writer he explained the research he was carry oning. If the pupils agreed to partake, a clip was allocated for an interview.

The interviews were carried out in a quiet controlled environment. During the interview the writer asked a figure of inquiries ; the replies were recorded and at a ulterior day of the month transcribed. From the transcripts the writer analysed the replies given and highlighted incidences of: thesignificance of self-destructionandinfluences of individualism. The consequences were correlated, interpreted and supported through infusions from the information into a plausible account of self-destruction, and in making so answered the research inquiry.

In add-on, participants were asked to subscribe a simple legal papers for the intent of admiting that they were cognizant of the potentially sensitive stuff that would be discussed in the interviews.

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In all civilizations, self-destruction is a affair of utmost sensitiveness, touching, as it does, the innermost and critical facets of a person’s lifeand possibly besides their finish in the after-life besides. It was indispensable therefore that the interviews for this thesis were pursued with great cautiousness, understanding and sensitiveness. It was rather likely given the high-rates of self-destruction found in Japan, that one or several of the Nipponese interviewees might hold known an immediate household member or friend who had committed suicide ; about all Nipponese know indirectly of individuals who have committed self-destruction. Given the intense daintiness of the capable affair, ‘preservation of confidentiality’ was a critical consideration throughout the conducting of the interviews. To this terminal, to protect both interviewees and myself against possible painful reactions against this procedure, all interviewees were asked to subscribe a simple legal disclaimer admiting the potentially traumatic stuff that might be encountered in the class of interviews. For the same intent, interviewees were promised that their names would non look in this concluding study ; instead, interviewees and their replies are referred to utilizing a simple cryptography pattern — as described in the methodological analysis subdivision of this study.

Despite the above mentioned safeguards, it might, however, be imputed by some perceivers that the possible hazards that this research exposes interviewees to is unethical and can non be justified even for the interest of scientific probe. In answer to this charge, the following reply might be given in two parts: foremost, that the most damage the inquiries of this study could make to an interviewee would be to re-awaken painful memories of a comparative or friend’s self-destruction ; this negative possibility was considered during the planning phase of this research but it was decided that the possible new cognition about self-destruction unearthed by this study would off-set any uncomfortableness awakened by its inquiries. Furthermore, it was hoped that interviewee engagement in the completion of this research might even convey to those interviewees a better comprehension of the beginnings and causes of their ain traumatic experiences. For case, potentially self-destructive Nipponese pupils interviewed for the study might be dissuaded from ordaining their self-destruction by the better apprehension of that act provided to them by the consideration and contemplation of the inquiries raised by the interviewer. Therefore, possibly like all sociological probe — and possibly even all scientific probe — this present research worked with a Utilitarian doctrine, seeking ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’ by providing the scientific community and the populace with a better cognition of the sociological causes of self-destruction in Japan, at the disbursal of a minority of interviewees who might be negatively affected by that probe.

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Section 5: Aims & A ; Aims

The present thesis had three chief purposes and three chief aims:

Purposes

( 1 ) To set up that traditional impressions and significances of self-destruction in Japan are non

seen as Acts of the Apostless of negative societal behavior.

( 2 ) That Western influences have changed the manner immature Nipponese grownups perceive

their societal individuality and individualism.

( 3 ) Finally, that a combination of the first two purposes consequences in a societal temperament

towards society that may ensue in self-destructive inclinations.

Aims

The aim of this research was to transport out a series of in-depth interviews with a random sample of Nipponese pupils to set up an account for recent phenomenon of suicide treaties in Japan.

( 1 ) To accomplish the first purpose the aim is to set up the positions of the Nipponese

pupils in relation to what suicide agencies and represents to them. To detect this

it will be necessary to examine how these traditional significances come to be formed

over clip and the value that these sentiments hold in the societal context of modern

Japan.

( 2 ) The 2nd aim is to detect the factors or influences that have helped organize

the manner each pupil perceives their societal individuality and individualism, this may be

determined by what sort of music they prefer, the apparels they choose to have on, the

plans they decide to watch or any other societal status that may impact their

personal position on individuality or individualism.

( 3 ) The 3rd aim will depend on how good I carry out the first two aims, as

the key to my succeeding will depend on set uping a contradictory status

that may ensue in suicide inclinations.

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Section 6: The Suicide Conflict Method

Nipponese Society( Collective )Honourable ( Collective ) act

The main dogmas of Durkheim’s theoretical account of social-factors act uponing self-destruction can be more clearly demonstrated by the above theoretical account designed by the present writer. The theoretical account has the cardinal advantage of clearly stand foring the two possible results of ‘conflict’ as experienced by Western and Nipponese individuals ; the theoretical account shows the traditional effects of corporate versus single attitudes to suicide, and how the later has of late become dominant over the former in Nipponese society.

Traveling right from the top-left of the diagram, the reader is shown the normal path taken by a Westerner when confronted with struggle: self-destruction, because of its harm to the person, is characterized as a negative act. Contrarily, traveling right from the bottom-left, the corporate temperament of Nipponese society of course and historically has regarded suicide as an honorable act because it benefits the bulk. It is possible so to deduce from the theoretical account two really distinguishable historical attitudes to conflict and to suicide ; these traditionally holding no inter-mixing or convergence.

But the transmutations of Nipponese society and economic system in the past century have brought about a large-scale reversal of attitude both to struggle and to the Nipponese moral and philosophical perceptual experiences of self-destruction. Rather than the result of struggle taking the Nipponese capable to see self-destruction as an honorable act undertaken for the advantage of the corporate, many Nipponese have now taken the alternate Western path and, witting to a greater grade of their individualism, see self-destruction as an negative act that damage the individual of the person. This phenomenon is an case of ‘anomic suicide’ : profound alterations to the foundations and construction of a society have led to societal decomposition and loss of coherence ; this dis-equilibrium leaves stranded and out-of-sync big Numberss of persons who, confronted with struggle, do non hold a set of historical traditions with which to battle this confrontation and so are suicidaly over-come by it. A Restoration of societal equilibrium and ordinance can merely come about either by a return to a traditional societal form or by a wholescale and entire acceptance of the foreign societal experience.

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Section 7: Sample Questions

The undermentioned inquiries were asked of five Nipponese University pupils to assist set up thesignificance of self-destruction ( corporate )in modern Nipponese society.

Q1.What does the act of perpetrating suicide mean to you?

Q2. How did you come to organize this significance of self-destruction?

Q3. Is your sentiment on suicide declarative mood of the overall sentiment in Nipponese

society?

Q4. Have you of all time thought about perpetrating self-destruction ; if yes, why?

A farther specific set of inquiries probed the status of ‘individuality’ in modern Nipponese society.

Q1. How do you by and large perceive yourself in Nipponese society?

Q2. How did you come to organize this sentiment?

Q3. Make you comprehend yourself as an person or portion of a larger community?

Q4. What external influences helped you organize this perceptual experience?[ 4 ]

Section 8: Results & A ; Analysis

The questionnaires for this research revealed the undermentioned chief consequences.

With regard to the first set of inquiries and hypotheses the affair for enquiry was ‘the significance of suicide’ for immature Nipponese today. From the consequences collected it is evident that self-destruction for immature Nipponese today has rather different associations than it did for Japanese of other coevalss. For case the responses to Question 3 of Section 1 ( Is you sentiment indicative of Nipponese society overall? ) shows a clear duality between the attitude of the older members of Nipponese society and the younger members. The immature respondents are cognizant that their parents and grandparents have rather different attitudes to suicide, understanding it as a baronial and selfless act undertaken for the interest of the community ; however, these respondents are more profoundly persuaded and influenced by the pervading Western attitude to suicide: understanding it as an single act transporting single effects. Four of five respondents made about no reference to being influenced by the old traditional thoughts of societal coherence ; one respondent stated that he was profoundly influenced by such thoughts. The lack-lustre and imprecise replies to Question 1 besides imply that immature Nipponese no longer attach the same significance to suicide as older coevalss ; had aged Nipponese been asked the same inquiry it is likely that much clearer and deeper responses would hold been received. Nonetheless Question 4 of Section 1 ( Have you of all time considered perpetrating suicide? ) was answered by four of the respondents with the answer that they have at sometime contemplated self-destruction ; this response indicates that despite the displacement of significance of self-destruction today nonetheless a high proportion of Nipponese still contemplate the act. This implies a strong societal influence other than the ancient ‘nobility’ and ‘altruism’ causation such contemplation. The responses to Question 2 of Section 1 suggest that the confusion caused by both Western and oriental influences in their lives has led to a re-evaluation among immature Nipponese about self-destruction.

With regard to the 2nd hypothesis and set of inquiries the affair of enquiry was ‘notions of individuality’ amongst immature Nipponese today. Questions 2 and 3 of Section 2 were decidedly answered by all but one respondent in footings of a overruling sense of individualism, and of this increased self-awareness being derived from an exposure to Western thoughts and Western civilization. From these responses is seems apparent that a major reorientation of attitude to the corporate / single argument has occurred in the present coevals of Nipponese young person ; of all time greater accent is given to individualism, and this is likely to hold caused the alienated displacement predicted by Durkheim’s theories.

However, the above consequences present several methodological troubles. Above all, it is hard to deduce scientifically valid statements and to do accurate hereafter anticipations based upon the interviews of simply five Nipponese pupils. Given greater resources and more clip it would hold been desirable to interview possibly 50 to one-hundred Nipponese pupils ; in the event, merely five Nipponeses were interviewed. The trouble presented by this low figure is that of deducing clear replies to the hypotheses posited at the beginning of this research. Even within the obtained consequences there were no consentaneous replies to the inquiries asked ; a bulk of responses confirmed the research’s hypotheses, but far broad probes would hold to be conducted before one could be confident in the cosmopolitan pertinence and truth of such consequences. In add-on, the assorted mentions from the respondents to the experiences that they have received in the West imply a high degree of English taint, therefore take awaying from the possible truth and relevancy of consequences to an exclusively Nipponese context. Further, minor troubles of understanding such as the ill-defined diction of Question 1 Section 2 hindered the lucidity of consequences obtained.

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In the concluding analysis, the present research offers apparently self-contradictory consequences. On the one manus the bulk of respondents interviewed were clearly convinced of two things: foremost, that their attitudes and ideas on self-destruction were either strongly or well influenced by their exposure to Western society and thought ; secondly, that they had small affinity with the older Nipponese constructs of self-destruction as a baronial and selfless act. The paradox so is this: that in the West self-destruction is a negative act holding negative effects for the person — which in a spiritual context can intend the ageless damnation of one’s psyche and denied entry to paradise. In the West, whether one positions suicide sacredly or secularly, it is about universally deplored as an immoral and non-permitable act against the ego. In other words, the West uses warnings and moral prohibitions as a rampart against the mass pattern of self-destruction. It would look logical therefore that the greater incursion of Western influence into Nipponese life would besides transport a greater consciousness of the prohibitions and dangers of self-destruction. This in bend ought to deter of all time greater Numberss of Nipponese against perpetrating self-destruction.

What so are we to do of the phenomenon of suicide-pacts amongst immature Nipponese organized through the cyberspace?At underside, it suggests a deformed or baffled assimilation of Western attitudes to suicide ; that is, immature Japanese have assimilated the individualistic place of the West to suicide, but they have ignored its attendant prohibition against perpetrating self-destruction for the harm that it will make to one’s psyche. Rather than get down both of these dogmas of the Western attitude, immature Japanese have adopted merely one and this has led to Durkheim’s impression of alienated self-destruction engendered by a break of societal equilibrium. Young Nipponese are, as Answering 001 so articulately stated, torn between two entirely different attitudes to suicide: one attitude is native to their historical traditions and emphasiss suicide as a baronial act undertaken for the benefit of the community ; the other attitude is foreign to Nipponese history and demands an individualistic stance. The trouble for immature Nipponese today is that they are neither wholly of one sentiment or the other ; they are non single or community-minded butbothand this leads to a fatal struggle which itself leads to phenomenon such as suicide-pacts. Even taking into consideration the fact that in the Far East self-destruction does non transport that moral intensions that it has in the West, however, this modern phenomenon of suicide-pacts are really far from the baronial ideals espoused by a Nipponese person’s grandparents or ascendants. Even in Japan, suicide without a intent is to be deplored ; and such suicide-pacts as those discussed in this research have no clear intent. The societal solution for this phenomenon, as Durkheim taught, lies in immature Nipponese to the full absorbingeitherthe Western attitudeorthe historical 1. A lasting province of oblivion between the two will take merely to increasing Numberss of treaties and to greater societal loss of dis-equilibrium.

Section 10: Bibliography

Academic Books, Journals & A ; Articles

Alpert, H. ( 1939 ) .Emile Durkheim and His Sociology. New York.

Alpert, H. ( 1941 ) . “ Emile Durkheim and the Theory of Social Integration. ”Journal of Social Philosophy6: 172-84.

Barnes, H. E. and H. Becker ( 1938 ) .Social Thought from Lore to Science. New York.

Cashion, B. G. ( 1970 ) . “ Durkheim ‘s Conception of Anomie and its Relationship to Suicide ”Sociology and Social Research55: 72-81.

Erwin, S. ( 1964 ) .Surveies in Social Pathology. Suicide and Attempted Suicide. Pelican Books, London.

Fenton, S. ( 1984 ) .Durkheim and Modern Sociology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Giddens, A. ( 1971 ) . “ The “ Individual ” in the Writings of Durkheim. ”European Journal of Sociology12: 210-28.

Giddens, A. ( 1972 ) .Emile Durkheim: Selected Hagiographas. Cambridge.

Hawkynss, M. J. ( 1981 ) . “ Emile Durkheim on Democracy and Absolutism. ”History of Political Thought2, 2: 333-90.

Jacobs, J. ( 1971 ) . ‘‘Adolecent Suicide’’ , Whiley & A ; Sons, London.

Kurauchi, K. ( 1960 ) .Durkheim ‘s Influence on Nipponese Sociology. Ohio.

Kurosu, S. ( 1991 ) . “ Suicide in Rural Areas: The Case of Japan, 1960-1980. ”Rural Sociology56 ( 4 ) : 603-18.

Lehmann, J. ( 1995 ) . “ Durkheim ‘s Theory of Deviance and Suicide: A Feminist Reconstruction. ”American Journal of Sociology100: 904-930.

Maclean, Y. E. , R. ( 1959 ) .The Importance of Emile Durkheim in the History of Sociology.

Malinowski, B. ( 1926 ) .Crime and Custom in Savage Society. London and New York.

Olsen, M. D. ( 1965 ) . “ Durkheim ‘s Two Concepts of Anomie. ”Sociological Quarterly6, I: 37-44.

Pearce, F. ( 1987 ) . “ A Reworking of Durkheim ‘s Suicide. ”Economy and Society16 ( 4 ) : 526-67.

Pope, W. ( 1976 ) .Durkheim ‘s Suicide: A Authoritative Analyzed. Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press.

Sasaki, K. ( 1978 ) .On E. Durkheim ‘s Sociology, Koseisha-Koseikaku.

Sharma, A. ( 1978 ) . “ Emile Durkheim on Suttee as Suicide. ”International Journal of Contemporary Sociology15: 283-91.

Taylor, S. ( 1990 ) . “ Beyond Durkheim: Sociology and Suicide. ”Social Studies Review6 ( 2 ) : 70-74.

Tosti, G. ( 1898 ) . “ Suicide in the Light of Recent Studies. ”American Journal of Sociology3: 464-78.

Villegas, O. U. ( 1959 ) .Durkheim ‘s Sociological Method in its Application to the Study of Suicide.

Yang, B. J. ( 1992 ) . “ The Economy of Suicide: A Time-Series Study of the USA. ”American Journal of Economics and Sociology51 ( 1 ) : 87-99.

Internet Beginnings

— www.personalmd.com/news/n0707010645.shtml

— www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/nikolas.lloyd/evolve/samurai.html

— www.iol.co.za/general/news/newsprint.php

— hypertext transfer protocol: //newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news

Section 11: Appendixs

Below are presented the transcripts of the five interviews that form the footing of this research. As per the confidentiality understanding mentioned in the ‘Ethical Issues’ subdivision of this thesis, respondents are non named but instead given a figure. Thus the transcripts of the five respondents are labelled 001 – 002 – 003 – 004 – 005 severally.

TRANSCRIPT 001

Section 1

Q1.What does the act of perpetrating suicide mean to you?

I find it hard to reply this inquiry unambiguously because suicide means two different things to me: on the one manus I am cognizant of the baronial associations accorded to the impression of self-destruction in Nipponese history ; on the other manus I know that recent decennaries have brought the young person of Japan to a new attitude about self-destruction — an attitude where the aristocracy of self-destruction as an act of corporate selflessness has been replaced by a personal and single dimension. I can non yet say which of these really different constructs of self-destruction is stronger in my nature ; I feel possibly that it is the later.

Q2. How did you come to organize this significance of self-destruction?

As above, I feel that, as modern Nipponese, I am pulled between two powerful forces: the historical traditions of my state and its recent embracing of Western-style economic systems and civilization. My construct of self-destruction must so originate from my contemplation upon these two influences.

Q3. Is your sentiment on suicide declarative mood of the overall sentiment in Nipponese

society?

Again, it is really hard to reply this inquiry unambiguously. My attitude is Manichaean or agnostic ; I am non distinct whether I should see self-destruction as a corporate selfless act or as an act of single personality. Possibly a bulk of my equals think of self-destruction along the ulterior lines, sing it as a personal act with personal effects and branchings. On the other manus, my parents and grandparents coevals are much closer to the older selfless thought of self-destruction. Opinion in modern-day Japan is so split ; possibly in future it will side more surely with the younger coevalss.

Q4. Have you of all time thought about perpetrating self-destruction ; if yes, why?

I read a celebrated psychologist one time stating that everyone thinks about self-destruction at one clip or another. If that is true, so your inquiry is truly inquiring mehow strongly and earnestly have I considered it?My ain reply must be affected slightly by the fact that I have lived in England for two old ages and so been exposed to quite different cultural and mental force per unit areas than had I been in Japan during this clip. That said, I did believe strongly about perpetrating self-destruction when first arriving in England when I experienced an intensification of the Western civilization and so the effort of an historically foreign individualism upon my mind. I one time even made readyings for self-destruction, but the reassurance of a friend guided me against it.

Section 2

Q1. How do you by and large perceive yourself in Nipponese society?

I don’t understand the inquiry! ( After account ) . As a victim of two different civilizations drawing me apart, and with no mediating or comforting influence to unite them.

Q2. How did you come to organize this sentiment?

From 19 old ages of experience of it.

Q3. Make you comprehend yourself as an person or portion of a larger community?

Clearly I am both: I can non be either entirely individualistic or community-minded. Still, my stronger set is an individualistic 1.

Q4. What external influences helped you organize this perceptual experience?

Again, 19 old ages of life under a dual influence.

TRANSCRIPT 002

Section 1

Q1.What does the act of perpetrating suicide mean to you?

It is something invariably on my head. I have thought really much about self-destruction. It is frequently seems to be the best manner to stop my sadness.

Q2. How did you come to organize this significance of self-destruction?

I think I came to because I have thought about it so much. When I was in Japan before coming to the UK the experience I think was much stronger. I had many friends my age who thought the same manner ; some of them even used chat-rooms to set up suicide-pacts with each other.

Q3. Is your sentiment on suicide declarative mood of the overall sentiment in Nipponese

society?

In my experience my sentiment is declarative at least of many Nipponese my ain age. As I said above, I have known many friends and relations who have earnestly considered self-destruction. I can non state though about the older Nipponese. I think they understand suicide really otherwise to how we ( the immature ) do ; they think of it as something baronial or epic possibly.

Q4. Have you of all time thought about perpetrating self-destruction ; if yes, why?

As I said above, I have frequently thought about self-destruction. Life if Japan is for many people really hard ; life is really expensive, the economic system is making severely and it is really hard to acquire a good occupation. Besides, my life seems rather meaningless at times. I do non truly cognize what I exist for, what is my purpose? I think the old people may cognize their intent, but I do non and this distresses me greatly.

Section 2

Q1. How do you by and large perceive yourself in Nipponese society?

What do you intend? ( After account of the inquiry ) . I do non truly cognize what is meant any longer by ‘Japanese society’ . I do non experience myself to be portion of a community or a society, but instead I am an person who lives his ain life for his ain intents. I guess I am economically of import for my state ; they need me to analyze and work hard to assist the economic system.

Q2. How did you come to organize this sentiment?

I think largely by populating with these things for so long.

Q3. Make you comprehend yourself as an person or portion of a larger community?

As an person largely.

Q4. What external influences helped you organize this perceptual experience?

I think my experience of life in a westernised Japan and my intensification of this experience holding now lived in England for some clip. I have tonss of Nipponese friends who think like me ; they must hold influenced me greatly.

TRANSCRIPT 003

Section 1

Q1.What does the act of perpetrating suicide mean to you?

To be honest, I doesn’t intend that much to me at all.

Q2. How did you come to organize this significance of self-destruction?

I can’t truly reply the inquiry because self-destruction has small significance for me.

Q3. Is your sentiment on suicide declarative mood of the overall sentiment in Nipponese

society?

Again, I can’t truly say. I think many Nipponese, particularly immature Nipponese, think about self-destruction a great trade. The older Nipponese besides think of self-destruction frequently but likely in a different manner to the immature.

Q4. Have you of all time thought about perpetrating self-destruction ; if yes, why?

Merely fleetingly I think. I’ve ne’er earnestly considered ordaining it ; I’m rather happy to be honest.

Section 2

Q1. How do you by and large perceive yourself in Nipponese society?

What does this mean? ( After account of the inquiry ) . I think that in modern Japan everyone has great chances and great freedoms to be whatever they want to be. I think I am of import to Nipponese society if I get a good instruction and advance our economic system and international influence.

Q2. How did you come to organize this sentiment?

Probably because I have thought about it from clip to clip.

Q3. Make you comprehend yourself as an person or portion of a larger community?

Decidedly as an person, although I have to do a community part every bit good.

Q4. What external influences helped you organize this perceptual experience?

Populating in a large modern Nipponese metropolis every bit good as in the UK has evidently been a major influence upon my thoughts. Besides these, my household and friends have been influential besides.

TRANSCRIPT 004

Section 1

Q1.What does the act of perpetrating suicide mean to you?

It means the stoping of my life, the stoping of my sadness.

Q2. How did you come to organize this significance of self-destruction?

Probably from believing about it so much ; in Japan self-destruction is a changeless affair of idea amongst the immature. I must hold come to organize my sentiment by larning to believe in a similar manner.

Q3. Is your sentiment on suicide declarative mood of the overall sentiment in Nipponese

society?

It is decidedly declarative of my coevals I think. As I said above, really many Nipponese childs contemplate suicide ; many of them even carry it out. I had a cousin who committed self-destruction last twelvemonth in fact.

Q4. Have you of all time thought about perpetrating self-destruction ; if yes, why?

Yes, frequently. Because I feel that life in Japan today is without much significance ; I don’t know why or for what I exist. Life is merely about acquiring a good occupation and doing money ; I think life should be about more than merely these, but I don’t cognize how to travel about happening out what.

Section 2

Q1. How do you by and large perceive yourself in Nipponese society?

I don’t truly understand the inquiry! ( After account of the inquiry ) . I do non truly cognize what is meant any longer by ‘Japanese society’ . Populating like a Westerner has taught me a really individualistic manner of life. I think though that economically I am of import for the prosperity of Japan.

Q2. How did you come to organize this sentiment?

By believing about it so much.

Q3. Make you comprehend yourself as an person or portion of a larger community?

Very much as an person.

Q4. What external influences helped you organize this perceptual experience?

Populating in the UK and in a Westernised environment in Japan. I’ve besides known many immature Nipponeses, including some here at university, who think tonss about self-destruction.

TRANSCRIPT 005

Section 1

Q1.What does the act of perpetrating suicide mean to you?

Most strongly it means a baronial act undertaken to assist your state or community.

Q2. How did you come to organize this significance of self-destruction?

My parents and grandparents doubtless have helped to organize my sentiment. Besides, I have read much of the history and literature of my state ; the baronial ideals about self-destruction in Nipponese history of course affect my apprehension of the phenomenon.

Q3. Is your sentiment on suicide declarative mood of the overall sentiment in Nipponese

society?

It is declarative of the older coevalss of Nipponese ; my coevals thinks really otherwise about self-destruction, it has no aristocracy for them, it isn’t undertaken for the community.

Q4. Have you of all time thought about perpetrating self-destruction ; if yes, why?

I’ve thought about it in a nostalgic manner ; inquiring whether I could hold given my life for others. I’ve ne’er prepared to make it nevertheless.

Section 2

Q1. How do you by and large perceive yourself in Nipponese society?

As person out-of-sync with the popular attitude of my equals.

Q2. How did you come to organize this sentiment?

By holding to populate with the experience described above.

Q3. Make you comprehend yourself as an person or portion of a larger community?

As a member of an ancient community or folk.

Q4. What external influences helped you organize this perceptual experience?

Again, life by it for my whole life.

1

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