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Durkheim's Theories of Deviance and Suicide: A Feminist Reconsideration

In the Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim conceptualizes deviance as an essentially asocial phenomenon, and the conceptualizes "woman" as an essentially asocial being. Both theories contradict Durkheim's characteristic social determinism, and both encounter, in Suicide, two further contradictions. First, Suicide demonstrates conclusively that relatively asocial individuals, women, are actually much less prone to deviance than relatively social individuals, men. Second, Suicide introduces the theory that deviance is an essentially social phenomenon that is produced by pathological social forces or "currents" rather than by "excessive individualization" and "insufficient socialization." Durkheim's second theory of deviance thus simultaneously rescues his theory of the social nature of men and his theory of the asocial nature of women.