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    Studying Suicide in Modern Ireland: New Directions and Old Conundrums

    Saris, A. Jamie (2012) Studying Suicide in Modern Ireland: New Directions and Old Conundrums. Irish Journal of Anthropology, 15 (2). pp. 6-8. ISSN 1393-8592

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    Few activities in human life attract and hold both popular and scholarly attention as much as suicide. Western Moral Philosophy has for centuries found it a burden too heavy to put down. To be sure Christianity proscribed it (often severely), especially after Constantine institutionalized the religion, but a belief system founded on divine self-sacrifice, which beatified its early martyrs who almost always eagerly embraced their doom, and which advised self-abnegation, could never fit its ambivalence about the deliberate ending of the physical self into a straight-jacket of simple categorical rejection. The secular descendants of Moral Philosophy - some parts of medicine, at least what came to be called Psychology and Psychiatry, most social sciences, and, indeed, pretty much any branch of knowledge that made understanding the human subject (in its physical or moral being) its business - found in suicide its own conceptual limits. If the Enlightenment thinking about the fundamental aspect of the human person was true - unitary, rationally-calculating, drawn towards pleasure and avoiding pain, but most of all self preserving then everything from deliberate self-harm to unresistingly embracing one's certain doom, could only be set at the limits of reason. Thus, we have the default stance of suicide analysis: that the individual was not in possession of his or her right mind, i.e., was somehow sick - physically, psychologically, and/ or morally. And, of course, we have the corollary to this stance - that if this dis-ease could have been ameliorated, then no ending of life would have been contemplated and/ or carried through.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Studying Suicide; Modern Ireland; New Directions; Old Conundrums;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 4373
    Depositing User: Dr. A. Jamie Saris
    Date Deposited: 24 May 2013 11:23
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Journal of Anthropology
    Publisher: The Anthropological Association of Ireland (AAI)
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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