© 2016

Self-Injury, Medicine and Society

Authentic Bodies


Table of contents

About this book


This book provides an appreciative, sociological engagement with accounts of the embodied practice of self-injury. It shows that in order to understand self-injury, it is necessary to engage with widely circulating narratives about the nature of bodies, including that they are separate from, yet containers of 'emotion'. Using a sociological approach, the book examines what self-injury is, how it functions, and why someone might engage in it. It pays close attention to the corporeal aspects of self-injury, attending to the complex ways in which 'lived experience' is narrated. 

By interrogating the way in which healthcare and psychiatric systems shape our understanding of self-injury, Self-Injury, Medicine and Society aims to re-invigorate traditional discourse on the subject. Combining analytical theory with real-life accounts, this book provides an engaging study which is both thought-provoking and informative. It will appeal to an interdisciplinary readership and scholars in the fields of medical sociology and health studies in particular.


Medical Sociology Health Sociology Self-harm Cutting Sociology of the body Emotion Psychology Narrative Biomedicine Biomedical

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of LincolnLincolnUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Amy Chandler is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Lincoln, UK, and Associate Researcher at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Her research interests include suicide, self-harm, drug and alcohol use.

Bibliographic information


“An excellent book which offers a detailed investigation of one of the more troubling ways in which embodied social actors in the contemporary world relate to their bodies. Revealing in relation to both self-harm and embodiment more generally, and written in a clear and engaging manner.” (Nick Crossley, Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester, UK)

“As a growing health concern, especially among young people, self-injury is perhaps one of the most complex of 'late modern' phenomena to understand, and to provide adequate care and support. Amy Chandler has provided a skillful critique located centrally in the medicalisation/ demedicalisation debates; not only is this a rigorous academic overview which transcends simplistic  lay/professional and body/mind divides, her research is also grounded in empirical 'lived experience' (including her own), which gives added authenticity. This book combines scholarship and 'real world' experience to successfully span the academic/ practitioner/ user readership.” (Gillian Bendelow, Professor of Sociology of Health and Medicine, University of Brighton, UK)