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Cambridge University Press
Suicide: Foucault, History and Truth

Suicide: Foucault, History and Truth

by Ian Marsh


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521130011
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Ian Marsh is a Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. He previously worked in an NHS community mental health team and continues to facilitate suicide prevention training.

Table of Contents

List of figures x

Acknowledgements xi

Part I Introduction and analytic strategy 1

1 Introduction 3

Foucault, critique and the study of suicide 3

Rationale 5

Plan of the book 8

2 Analytic strategy 13

Introduction 13

Principles of analysis 14

Analytic strategies 16

Questions addressed in the book 23

Part II The present 25

3 Mapping a contemporary 'regime of truth' in relation to suicide 27

Introduction 27

Producing and reproducing truths in relation to suicide: a compulsory ontology of pathology in professional accounts of suicide 28

Overview: suicide as pathological and a matter of psychiatric concern 29

Constructing a compulsory ontology of pathology in relation to suicide 31

Achieving authority within texts 33

Construction of concepts, objects and subjects 36

Disseminating truths in relation to suicide: a compulsory ontology of pathology in media accounts of suicide 43

Media guidelines on the reporting of suicide 45

'Truth effects' 51

Suicide prevention 62

Conclusions 64

4 Problematising a contemporary 'regime of truth' in relation to suicide 65

Problematising contemporary discursive formations of suicide 65

Conclusions 75

Part III A history of the present 77

Introduction to Part III 77

5 Self-accomplished deaths at other times and in other places: the contingency of contemporary truths in relation to suicide 79

Descriptions of self-accomplished deaths in ancient Greece and Rome 79

Romana mors: self-accomplished death as relational, philosophical and political 80

Self-accomplished death as a sin and a crime 86

Conclusions 89

6 Conditions of possibility for the formation of medical truths of suicide: 1641-1821 90

Introduction 90

Inventing suicide 90

The secularisation of suicide in early modern England 92

Non compos mentis: suicide and insanity 93

Alienism, and the asylum as laboratory for the production of medical truths 94

Accounting for the shift from punishment to confinement and treatment: a new 'economy' of power? 96

Conclusions 99

7 Suicide as internal, pathological and medical: Esquirol 1821 100

Introduction 100

'Pathologie interne' 100

The passions 103

'Suicide provoked by the passions' 107

Conclusions 111

8 The production, dissemination and circulation of medical truths in relation to suicide: 1821-1900 115

Introduction 115

Defining suicide by reference to insanity: what sort of madness was suicide? 116

Suicide as a morbid action of the body, the result of pathological anatomy 117

Reading the signs written on the body 122

Suicide arising from an internal, irresistible impulse: possession, perversion and impulsion 124

Defining insanity by reference to suicide: what suicide revealed of madness 132

Defining psychiatry by reference to suicide: what suicide tells us of the function of psychiatry 135

Subject formation 143

The changing nature of the suicidal subject 149

Responsibility, accountability and culpability in preventing suicide 150

9 Managing the problem of the suicidal patient: containment, constant watching and restraint 156

Asylum practices 156

Asylum suicides 159

Conclusions 166

10 Towards the 'normatively monolithic' - 'psy' discourse and suicide: 1897-1981 168

The challenge to, and later reassertion of, psychiatric dominance in relation to suicide 168

Extending the possibilities for the 'pathologisation' of suicide 173

Psychoanalytic constructions of the suicidal subject 174

Challenging psychiatric dominance 181

Sociological discourse on suicide 182

Thomas Szasz on suicide 184

Reasserting psychiatric dominance 187

Demarcating the normal and pathological in relation to suicide: psychological autopsy, St Louis, 1959 and 1981 187

Conclusions 191

11 The discursive formation of the suicidal subject: Sarah Kane and 4.48 Psychosis, 2000 193

Introduction 193

Suicidal subjectivities and first-person accounts 194

Sarah Kane, suicide and 4.48 Psychosis 195

4.48 Psychosis as constituted by 'pathological' discourses on suicide 197

4.48 Psychosis as a critique of, and resistance to, psychiatric discourse and practices 202

4.48 Psychosis as subverting foundational psychiatric assumptions of the self and suicide 208

Witnessing a private act 210

Conclusions 213

Part IV Summary and conclusions 217

12 Summary and conclusions 219

Summary of arguments and findings 219

Conclusions 223

References 231

Index 248

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