Academic Fatalism: Applying Durkheim’s Fatalistic Suicide Typology to Student Drop-Out and the Climate of Higher Education

Brian Godor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Student drop-out remains a critical issue facing educational professionals. For higher education, the vast research in the past 40 years has been influenced by the work of Tinto and his model of student persistence. In this model are several elements that have proven to sharpen the focus of student drop-out research such as the concept of integration. The philosophical foundation for these concepts stems from Durkheim’s work on suicide. Specifically, Tinto’s employs Durkheim’s “egotistical” suicide type as an analogy for student departure while attributing students’ departure as a decision to separate themselves from the academic community. However; assigning causation of student departure to students’ decisions stands in stark contrast to the theoretical underpinnings of Durkheim’s work. Durkheim believed that certain social tendencies cause suicides. If student drop-out is to be typified by a certain Durkheimian suicide “type,” then specific social facts must exist in those societies. In this article, student departure in higher education will be examined using Durkheim’s theory of suicide complemented with Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence. Egotistical suicide will then be re-examined as an analogy for student departure and the Durkheimian suicide “fatalistic” will be presented as suitable analogy for student departure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-218
Number of pages13
JournalIntercultural Education
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016

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