Sociology Index

FATALISTIC SUICIDE

Fatalistic suicide occurs in social conditions where the individual experiences pervasive oppression. David Emile Durkheim defined fatalistic suicide as suicide resulting from excessive regulation. Fatalistic suicide is committed by individuals whose passions are choked by oppressive discipline. The condition of slavery may make an individual feel that the only way to find escape is suicide. We would call it fatalistic suicide because the individual considers himself condemned by fate or doomed to be a slave. A fatalistic hopeless situation calling for fatalistic suicide as a solution. Fatalistic suicide served as a descriptor for suicides in traditional societies, because Durkheim was faced with the issue that even in societies with abundant social capital, individuals nevertheless killed themselves. The category of fatalistic suicide was constructed mainly for purpose of contrasting it with egoistic suicide, and because it would undercut his central claims about the role of modern urban life as increasing the incidence of suicide.

Anomic Suicide can happen when an individual has set goals and then experiences a failure in achieving those goals due to societal conditions. Altruistic Suicide is a suicide committed for the benefit of others or for the community. Egoistic Suicide occurs when an individual has a low level of integration into society. Durkheim could never seriously examine the possibility that social integration could result in suicide.

Durkheim distinguished between egoistic, anomic, altruistic, and fatalistic suicide. Dismissing altruistic and fatalistic suicide as unimportant, he viewed egoistic suicide as a consequence of the deterioration of social and familial bonds and linked anomic suicide to disillusionment and disappointment.

Egoistic suicide occurs when an individual has a low level of integration into society, while fatalistic suicide occurs in a highly regulated, social environment where the individual sees no possible way to improve his or her life. 

"Fatalistic suicide arises from “excessive regulation” that pitilessly blocks the possibilities of future. Individuals do not want their lives due to the extremely suppressing environment. The suicides of those suffering from mental and physical oppression are closer to fatalistic suicide". - "Labor Politics of Suicide in Korea", Lim, Hyun-Chin. and Hwang, Suk-Man.


Women's Fatalistic Suicide in Iran - A Partial Test of Durkheim in an Islamic Republic. Akbar Aliverdinia, University of Mazandaran, William Alex Pridemore, Indiana University. This version was published on March 1, 2009 - Violence Against Women, Vol. 15, No. 3 (2009). Durkheim's theory of fatalistic suicide, or suicide resulting from overregulation of behavior, has been neglected empirically. The authors test this hypothesis in Iran by examining the geographic distribution of female suicide. They examine the association between female suicide rates and multiple measures of social control of women, with rates expected to be higher in areas with greater social regulation of the lives of women and stronger traditional tribal cultures. Whereas social deregulation is often associated with higher suicide rates in the West, the authors' findings reveal that hyperregulation is associated with Durkheim’s Theory of Fatalistic Suicide: A Cross-National Approach.
A neglected area of Durkheim’s theory of suicide is the part where he deals with the opposite of egoistic suicide-suicide resulting from overregulation. The present paper operationalized overregulation in political terms. A regression analysis using U.N. data on 45 nations found that indicators of totalitarianism were significantly related to the rate of suicide independent of the control variables. A 1% increase in government sanctions was associated with a .13% increase in suicide.

Fatalistic Suicide in a Tight-Knit Community
Sarah Catherine Billups, Anna S. Mueller and Seth Abrutyn.

Modernization and Women’s Fatalistic Suicide in Post-Mao Rural China: A Critique of Durkheim
Introduction: Chinese Modernity and the Individual Psyche, Hyeon Jung Lee, Palgrave Macmillan US.
Durkheim argued that the process of modernization (modernization theory) can engender an increase in egoistic and anomic types of suicide, which results from a lack of social integration and regulation. Comparatively, altruistic or fatalistic suicide, each of which is caused by excessive social integration or regulation, rarely occur in modern society and can be regarded as relics of a traditional, premodern world. 

Durkheim's theory of fatalistic suicide: a cross-national approach. The Journal of social psychology 1979;107(Second Half):161-8.

Altruism and Fatalism: the characteristics of Palestinian suicide terrorists
Pedahzur A.; Perliger A.; Weinberg L. Deviant Behavior, Volume 24, Number 4. The suicide method became one of the most prevalent tactics of Palestinian Terrorism in Israel. Who are these people willing to sacrifice their lives and what drives them to do such things? We answer these questions, while relying on the concepts of altruistic and fatalistic suicide from Durkheim's typology of suicide behavior. Palestinian suicide terrorists from 1993 until the beginning of 2002, fit the "altruistic" type as well as some elements from the "fatalistic" and represent a combination of both types; thus they can be labeled under a new category of "fatalistic altruistic" suicide.

Suicides in prison fall into two groups: egoistic and fatalistic (Durkheim typology). Egoistic suicide occurs when an individual has a low level of integration into society, while fatalistic suicide occurs in a highly regulated, social environment where the individual sees no possible way to improve his or her life. Therefore, most suicides in prison are egoistic, whereas those by death row inmates may be both egoistic and fatalistic, because they are socially isolated and heavily regulated, and at the same time, weakly integrated. - Lester D, Danto BL: Suicide Behind Bars: Prediction and Prevention. Philadelphia: The Charles Press, 1993.
Asking whether euthanasia during the Third Reich is relevant to contemporary debates about physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia is dismissed as inflammatory. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Before, During, and After the Holocaust explores the history of euthanasia before and during the Third Reich in depth and demonstrate how Nazi physicians incorporated mainstream Western philosophy, eugenics, population medicine, prevention, and other medical ideas into their ideology.