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In an original and provocative study of suicide, Ian Marsh examines the historical and cultural forces that have influenced contemporary thought, practices and policy in relation to this serious public health problem. Drawing on the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault, the book tells the story of how suicide has come to be seen as first and foremost a matter of psychiatric concern. Marsh sets out to challenge the assumptions and certainties embedded in our beliefs, attitudes and practices concerning suicide and the suicidal, and the resulting account unsettles and informs in equal measure. The book will be of particular interest to researchers, professionals and students in psychology, history, sociology and the health sciences.
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Table of Contents

Contents; Part I. Introduction and Analytic Strategy: 1. Introduction; 2. Analytic strategy; Part II. The Present: 3. Mapping a contemporary 'Regime of Truth' in relation to suicide; 4. Problematising a contemporary 'Regime of Truth' in relation to suicide; Part III. A History of the Present: 5. Self-accomplished deaths at other times and in other places: the contingency of contemporary truths in relation to suicide; 6. Conditions of possibility for the formation of medical truths of suicide, 1641-1821; 7. Suicide as internal, pathological and medical, Esquirol 1821; 8. The production, dissemination and circulation of medical truths in relation to suicide, 1821-1900; 9. Managing the problem of the suicidal patient: containment, constant watching and restraint; 10. Towards the 'normatively monolithic' - 'psy' discourse and suicide: 1897-1981; 11. The discursive formation of the suicidal subject: Sarah Kane and 4.48 Psychosis, 2000; Part IV. Summary and Conclusions: 12. Summary and conclusions; References; Index.

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.


'This book is an excellent demonstration of both the utility and limits of Foucauldian methodologies for understanding complex social, scientific, health problems like suicide. This text will be useful to practitioners and students in mental health and other social sciences who have an interest in operationalizing Foucauldian theories to understand and develop alternative solutions to social problems.' Oona Morrow, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

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