Paths to Nirvana? Hunger as Practice of Suicide

  • Thomas Macho


This chapter comments on a historical upheaval which has primarily taken place during the last 70 years: the process of a gradual removal of taboos about suicide. The focus is on a current fascination with suicide, which manifests itself in discourses, art, film, TV productions, novels, or documentaries as some kind of interplay between politics (suicide attacks), the legal system (liberalization of euthanasia), medicine (assisted suicide), and aesthetics. It discusses three films that were made between 2007 and 2009: Sean Penn’s Into the Wild (2007), Steve McQueen’s Hunger (2008), and Peter Liechti’s The Sound of Insects: Record of a Mummy (2009). These films deal with voluntary starvation, and they document and reflect a remarkable globalization of suicide cultures, from Arizona to Alaska, from Ireland to Japan or Switzerland.


Hunger Hunger strike Suicide Christopher McCandless Steve McQueen Peter Liechti 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK)WienAustria

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