The Idea of Suicide
Contagion, Imitation, and Cultural Diffusion
This book is about a new theory of suicide as cultural mimesis, or as an idea that is internalized from culture. Written as part of a new, critical focus in suicidology, this volume moves away from the dominant, strictly scientific understanding of suicide as the result of a mental disorder, and towards positioning suicide as an anthropologically salient, community-driven phenomenon. Written by a leading researcher in the field, this volume presents a conception of suicide as culturally scripted, and it demonstrates how suicide becomes a cultural idiom of distress that for some can become a normative option.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction: Human Imitation as Culture
Chapter Two: On Suicide
Chapter Three: Social Epidemics
Chapter Four: Culture and Suicide
Chapter Five: Cultural Mimesis in Suicide: A Return to Diffusion and Gabriel Tarde
Chapter Six: Afterword
Michael J. Kral is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University, USA.