Year: 1990 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v.20, no.4, (Winter 1990), p.285-306 SIEC No: 19901991

This paper takes exception to much of the literature on Jonestown which implies that the residents died for essentially the same reason. This paper, using Durkheim’s typology, shows that Jonestown residents died for very different reasons & that 2 types of suicide occurred: altruistic & fatalistic. Some died because they put the group above the self; the majority however died for fatalistic reasons. Analysis suggests caution in assuming that a mass suicide is necessarily a homogeneous event.