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Psychological versus Sociological Perspectives on Suicide: A Reply to Mauk, Taylor, White, and Allen

Steven Stack and Jim Gundlach
Social Forces
Vol. 72, No. 4 (Jun., 1994), pp. 1257-1261
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580304
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580304
Page Count: 5
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Psychological versus Sociological Perspectives on Suicide: A Reply to Mauk, Taylor, White, and Allen
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Abstract

This article addresses three issues raised in Mauk et al.'s (1994) article on country music and suicide. First, Mauk et al.'s charge that suicide is an individual act that cannot be assessed through group statistics is a paradigmatic critique that can be leveled against the bulk of sociological work on suicide. The position of Mauk et al. is precisely that which Durkheim ([1897] 1966) polemicized against in order to legitimate the discipline of sociology in the nineteenth century. Second, their notion that "psychological autopsies" constitute the only legitimate methodology for studying suicide is an overstatement. Third, the noted ecological fallacy problems can, in fact, be remedied through properly specified models. Many ecological relationships involving suicide have been replicated with individual-level data. Fourth, the charges that our subcultural argument is "barely implied" and that the notion of a country music subculture is a myth are inaccurate. We reiterate our subcultural theory as well as the evidence in support of such a subculture.

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