Suicide as a Dramatic Performance  book cover
1st Edition

Suicide as a Dramatic Performance

Edited By

David Lester

ISBN 9781412856942
Published October 30, 2015 by Routledge
354 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Each suicide is as unique as the individuals involved, especially if one examines the nature of the act and to what extent these acts can be viewed as a theatrical performance. Focusing on the dramatic aspects of suicide may seem tangential to the physical and mental pain experienced by those who try to kill themselves, but dramatic aspects often provide important clues for understanding the mental state of suicidal individuals.

David Lester and Steven Stack investigate what happens in the weeks, days and hours before a suicide when the suicidal individual must make decisions and formulate the script for his or her suicidal act. The editors argue that these choices may help us understand and prevent other suicides and stimulate new and innovative research in this important area.

Through twenty-five substantive chapters, including both quantitative and qualitative analyses, this book offers insights into suicide as a dramatic act, with chapters on the intended audience, the suicide note, the location and method chosen, and cultural scripts, including suicide-by-cop, sati, seppuku, and duels. The contributors to this volume argue that psychological, social, and cultural factors influence these choices and that the decisions made by the individual are important for understanding the mental state of the person choosing to die by suicide.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
David Lester & Steven Stack

2 Ritual, Dramatic Performance, and Suicide: An Anthropological Perspective
Joseph Rubenstein

Part 1. The Suicide Note

3 The Presentation of the Self in Suicide Notes 1
David Lester & Bijou Yang
4 Dramatic Suicide Notes
David Lester
5 The Body as a Suicide Note
David Lester
6 Suicide and the Communicative Condition: Audience and the Idea of Suicide
Jermaine Martinez

Part 2. The Location of the Suicidal Act

7 The Location of the Suicidal Act
Steven Stack
8 Suicide Away from Home
Steven Stack
9 Hotel Suicide and the Drug Subculture
Steven Stack
10 Back to Nature: Suicide in Natural Areas
Steven Stack
11 Suicide in the Grand Canyon National Park
Steven Stack & Barbara Bowman
12 Suicide in Public
David Lester
13 Suicide on Television and Online
David Lester

Part 3. The Methods Chosen for Suicide

14 The Methods Chosen for Suicide
David Lester
15 The Rehearsal: Nonfatal Suicidal Behavior as a Precipitant of Suicide
John F. Gunn III
16 Suicide by Fire: Ethnicity as a Predictor of Self-Immolation in the United States
Steven Stack & Seth B. Abrutyn
17 Have Gun, Will Travel
Steven Stack
18 Unusual Suicides
Steven Stack
19 Methods of Suicide Around the World
Steven Stack

Part 4. Cultural Scripts for Suicide

20 Russian Roulette and Duels
David Lester
21 Death by Seppuku
David Lester
22 Self-Immolation as a Protest
David Lester
23 Victim-Precipitated Homicide
David Lester
24 Sati
David Lester
25 Suicide as the Liberation of the Soul
David Lester
26 Conclusion
David Lester & Steven Stack

About the Authors

Senior Author Index

Subject Index

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