Through an ethnohistorical chronicling of the emotionally-laden treatment of selected suicide media-events, this book offers a neo-Durkheimean account of suicide, addressing its social-moral threat and the ensuing need to gloss over its unsettling incomprehensibility. An analysis of the social dramas, cultural performances, and suicide talk aired in the Israeli public sphere, it suggests that such public glossing practices atone for and bring about the symbolic rectification of the socially detrimental effects of suicide. Drawing on Durkheim’s thought on the social significance of suicide and the sacred cohesive power of society’s self-representations through rituals and commemorations, the authors revamp the contemporary pertinence of these cultural devices, showing how, in the process of reconstituting and redressing the disrupted order, suicide talk constitutes a revival mechanism of communal ‘life giving’. A rekindling of the Durkheimian approach to suicide that examines how society deals with suicide’s shattering of normative we-feelings, Suicide Social Dramas: Moral Breakdowns in the Israeli Public Sphere will appeal to scholars and students of sociology and anthropology with interests in social theory, Israel studies, suicide studies, and the interpretation of societal and cultural processes.
Table of Contents
1. Heroic and Nonheroic Shame - Nation-State-Building and Betrayal
2. Civic and Private Shame of Betrayed and Betraying Buddies
3. Systemic Shaming or Catch-22 Suicides
4. Shaming the State
5. Cyber Shaming
6. Shaming the Nation
Epilogue: A Genealogy of Israeli Shame and Shaming
Haim Hazan is Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology and co-director of the Minerva Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the End of Life at Tel Aviv University, Israel. He is the author of Old Age: Constructions and Deconstructions and Against Hybridity: Social Impasses in a Globalizing World.
Raquel Romberg is Senior Researcher at the Minerva Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the End of Life, Tel Aviv University, Israel. She is the author of Healing Dramas: Divination and Magic in Modern Puerto Rico and Witchcraft and Welfare: Spiritual Capital and the Business of Magic in Modern Puerto Rico.