The authoress has recorded and analysed opinions of people at the age betweeen 20-35, living in and near Torun, concerning suicide. The methods of questionnaire survey (30 interviews) and observation were applied, as well as private conversations. Suicide is the subject of interest for many disciplines: medicine, psychology, criminology, philosophy, sociology. Emile Durkheim analysed social determinants of suicide and divided them into categories: egoistic, altruistic, anomic and fatalistic. Other scholars dealing with the discussed subject were: Edwin S. Shneidman, co-founder of the first American centre for Preventing Suicide, the psychiatrist Erwin Ringel and in Poland the sociologist Maria Jarosz. This article presents the ethnological approach to the problem of suicide and people's attitudes to it. It includes selected definitions of the phenomenon, available literature on the subject and historical review of the social attitudes concerning suicide from ancient times till now. In the last part of the work results of the authoress' fieldwork are summarized.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.