Suicide in Guyana: a Parsonsian corrective to Durkheim’s theory of suicide

By means of a Guyana case study, this paper sets out to make the point that Durkheim’s theory of suicide requires a theoretical extension to be able to account for suicide in Guyana. Data on suicide in Guyana goes against the Durkheimian hypotheses in every way possible. Suicide occurs predominantly among the group with the highest levels of social, political, and religious solidarity. When Durkheim’s theory is extended, however, by integrating into his macrosociological framework the microsociological processes of deviance advanced by Parsons, his theory becomes adequate in accounting for what would otherwise be perceived as an anomaly.

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