Öngyilkosságok a Magyar Királyságban


  • Bálint Lajos


történeti demográfia, öngyilkosság


This paper tests the theses of Durkheim’s classical work (Suicide) and those of other early sociological theories by analysing the district-level data of the Hungarian Kingdom at the beginning of the 20th century. In Hungary there have not been many examples of the quantitative analysis of spatial and historical suicide data so far. Former works, based on qualitative sources and parish registers or using the literature of the period as a historical source, were not able to utilize more subtle statistical analyses. The spatial analysis made it clear that – in contrast to the wide-spread opinion – not only the Great Plain can be regarded as a typical zone of high suicide rate but the high frequency of suicide also characterised some Transylvanian regions. The results of the spatial models generally verified Durkheim’s views. Both basic types of suicide in the Durkheimian theory, namely the egoist and the anomie-type one, appear to be inevitable in explaining the spatial differences of suicide in the Hungarian Kingdom. All the indicators referring to social change (e.g. the share of industrial workers, divorce rate) increased the probability of suicide, whereas the variables relating to traditional community ties or the force of integration diminished it. At the same time, in contrast to Durkheim’s view, the role of spatial and ethnic factors seem to have been much more important on the basis of this analysis. The concept of the imitative character of suicide or the role of adaptation to (acceptance of) this kind of behaviour in its spatial extension proved to be important in better understanding the mechanisms of suicide. The importance of ethnic variables could prove that cultural and normative factors also played an important role as regards suicide. Durkheim definitely refused that suicide could be affected by ethnic factors, while according to this paper, ethnic communities based on a common mother tongue can presumably be characterised by common culture and norms. Although this view is not so far from Durkheim’s ideas, it is obviously not a key element in his theory.