Sociologists in general believe that when society robs people of self-control, individual dignity, or a connection to something larger than themselves, suicide rates rise. They are all descendants of Emile Durkheim, who helped found the field in the late-19th century, choosing to study suicide so he could prove that “social facts” explain even this “most personal act.”
This is an amazing magazine story, and it’s the flip side to the recent essay I wrote about guns in the Morning News. I argued that gun violence is rooted deep in American society, but focusing on a lot of the same societal markers, this essay addresses what in our modern, digital society is making suicide the leading cause of death for some demographics. And the causes are not complicated.