Betwixt and between : Suicide, sociology, and the problem of meaning

Journal article

Doidge, Scott. (2022). Betwixt and between : Suicide, sociology, and the problem of meaning. The European Legacy. 27(5), pp. 435-455.
AuthorsDoidge, Scott

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, rising rates of suicide were widely held to be indicative of a pervasive crisis of meaning. This article examines the response to the problem of suicide in the thought of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. It argues that their engagement with the problem captured what each of them felt to be core truths surrounding the human condition as well as the most pressing contemporary social ailments. Read together, their thought is illustrative of the fruitful relationship that sociology had with philosophy, literature and the other arts during its formation as a discipline. It was a relationship that was particularly conducive to the examination of the problem of meaning. The discussion of suicide during this period is illustrative of key themes within classical sociology that have become increasingly marginalised in contemporary sociology with the narrowing of its fields of inquiry.

Keywordssuicide; sociology; problem of meaning; Durkheim; Weber; Nietzsche; Dostoevsky
JournalThe European Legacy
Journal citation27 (5), pp. 435-455
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85128223155
Page range435-455
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online31 Mar 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Nov 2023
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