fatalism


fatalism
A system of beliefs which holds that everything has its appointed outcome, that this cannot be avoided by effort or foreknowledge, and must merely be accepted as an unavoidable fact of life. The phenomenon has been somewhat neglected by sociologists, although fatalism is often identified as a characteristic of poverty , chronic illness, and unemployment . Thus, for example, Oscar Lewis maintains that it is a central characteristic of the ‘culture of poverty’ (see The Children of Sanchez, 1961). Similarly, in her discussion of ‘the passive worker thesis’ (the idea that women are generally more stable, passive, and fundamentally exploitable workers than men), Kate Purcell argues that women's behaviour at work is informed by ‘a fatalistic approach to life’, fostered by gender socialization and women's biology, and reinforced particularly by women manual workers' work and class circumstances (‘Female Manual Workers, Fatalism and the Reinforcement of Inequalities’, in , Rethinking Social Inequality, 1982).
In his study of Suicide (1897), Émile Durkheim defines fatalistic suicide (as in the case of suicides committed by slaves) in terms of excessive regulation of the wants of individuals, a situation in which the future is ‘pitilessly blocked and passions violently choked by oppressive discipline’. Hope is diminished to the extent that even life itself becomes a matter of indifference. In an extension of the Durkheimian discussion, David Lockwood (Solidarity and Schism, 1992) suggests that fatalism is a matter of degree, and can result from either ‘physical or moral despotism’; that is, from force of circumstances such as the condition of slavery , or the constraints imposed by a system of explicitly fatalistic beliefs such as those embraced by the Hindu doctrine ofkarma-samsara-moksha. Fatalism grounded in a specifically fatalistic ideology (such as Hindu soteriology) engenders an ethical commitment. By comparison the existential fatalism induced by slavery is grounded primarily in ritual rather than beliefs, and the subordinate strata do not approve of their condition but judge it merely to be unalterable. In both cases, however, ‘what is especially conducive to a fatalistic attitude is not so much the degree of oppressive discipline involved, but rather the fact that social constraint is experienced as an external, inevitable and impersonal condition’.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Fatalism — • The view which holds that all events in the history of the world, and, in particular, the actions and incidents which make up the story of each individual life, are determined by fate Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Fatalism      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • fatalism — FATALÍSM s.n. Doctrină care consideră că toate evenimentele din viaţa oamenilor ar fi dinainte determinate de destin. ♦ Atitudinea omului fatalist. – Din fr. fatalisme. Trimis de RACAI, 13.01.2009. Sursa: DEX 98  FATALÍSM s. predestinare,… …   Dicționar Român

  • Fatalism — Fa tal*ism, n. [Cf. F. fatalisme.] The doctrine that all things are subject to fate, or that they take place by inevitable necessity. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fatalism — index resignation (passive acceptance) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • fatalism — 1670s, from FATAL (Cf. fatal) + ISM (Cf. ism) …   Etymology dictionary

  • fatalism — [n] resignation to a fate acceptance, destinism, determinism, necessitarianism, passivity, predestinarianism, predestination, stoicism; concept 689 …   New thesaurus

  • fatalism — ► NOUN 1) the belief that all events are predetermined and inevitable. 2) a submissive attitude to events. DERIVATIVES fatalist noun fatalistic adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • fatalism — [fāt′ liz΄əm] n. 1. the belief that all events are determined by fate and, therefore, inevitable 2. acceptance of every event as inevitable fatalist n. fatalistic adj. fatalistically adv …   English World dictionary

  • Fatalism — Certainty series Agnosticism Belief Certainty Doubt Determinism Epistemology Estimation Fallibilism …   Wikipedia

  • fatalism — [[t]fe͟ɪtəlɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT Fatalism is a feeling that you cannot control events or prevent unpleasant things from happening, especially when this feeling stops you from making decisions or making an effort. There s a certain mood of fatalism… …   English dictionary


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