Suicides of the Marginalised: Cultural Approaches to Suicide, Minorities and Relationality

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Rob Cover


Suicides among marginalised groups are one of the few occasions in which self-harm and suicide are framed as having cultural, social, environental, historical or structural causes. Suicidology, psychology and public discourse typically understand suicide causality to be grounded in individualised psychic pain and pathology, disavowing the social, cultural, environmental and linguistic contexts. However, public discourse on suicides of ‘marginalised’ groups such as asylum seekers, Indigenous persons and queer/LGBT youth are ‘authorised’ to be discussed from social perspectives, informing opportunities to re-think suicidality, identity and liveability. Building on recent critical challenges to dominant theories, this article examines some of the ways in which the suicides of marginalised groups are described in social terms, demonstrating how cultural approaches to relationality, aspiration, performativity and mobility can expand current thinking on suicide cause and prevention.

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Author Biography

Rob Cover, The University of Western Australia

Rob Cover is an associate professor in the School of Social Sciences, University of Western Australia.