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International Max Planck Research School
on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy


Karlijn Roex

Anomie, Shame, and Resistance: The Impact of the Economy on Suicide

Studies on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy. IMPRS-SPCE, Cologne 2018.

This project builds on Durkheim’s sociological tradition to identify factors external to the individual that contribute to suicide rates. The theories central to this work imply that marketization plays a key role. Marketization here means economic deregulation policies and the overall “rescripting” of citizens as “consumers” (Monahan 2008). The main question of this project was: How is suicide influenced by unemployment, and how does this influence depend on the societal context of (increasing) marketization? Do dominant institutions only restrict suicidality, or can they also increase it?
The project consisted of two parts. The first, based on the diffusion and industrial relations literatures, examined the cross-national diffusion of marketization processes. The second examined the impact on suicide rates of these processes and the extent to which people attempt to resist them. This part of the project derives from Durkheim’s (1897) classical integration theory and institutional anomie theory (Messner and Rosenfeld 1994). Popular resistance against marketization was shown to have an important protective impact on the population and unemployed men in particular.



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