Conclusion: The Politics of Self-Harm: Social Setting and Self-Regulation

  • Chris Millard
Open Access
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)


Almost three decades ago, historian Howard Kushner writes of his unease at increasingly neurological understandings of behaviour such as suicide. He argues that ‘[o]ne feature of neuropathological approaches, however, seems unaffected by this increasing sophistication: the more scientifically complex these investigations become, the more they tend to ignore the social and historical context in which the behavior that they seek to explain takes place’.1 In these accounts, neurology displaces social context. In characteristically forthright terms, in 2014 Roger Cooter describes the turn to neurological explanations as ‘like becoming the victim of mind parasites’ because these explanations foreclose the ability to think critically about the social and cultural context of the explanations themselves: they are presented as universally true and outside of culture or history.2


Attempted Suicide Welfare State Economic Freedom Social Setting Borderline Personality Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Chris Millard 2015

Open Access This Chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Millard
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen MaryUniversity of LondonUK

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