Epigenetics and the Suicidal Brain: Reconsidering Context in an Emergent Style of Reasoning

  • Stephanie Lloyd
  • Eugene Raikhel


In this chapter, we consider the models of suicide risk emerging from environmental epigenetics research at the McGill Group for Suicide Studies. We argue that this research represents an emergent style of reasoning in which a range of contextual and environmental factors are both molecularized and located in the brain. We also argue that implicit in this research is a notion of a “suicidal brain”: a brain that responds to adverse life experiences with an increase in risk of suicidal behaviour. In examining both this concept and its attendant styles of reasoning, we highlight some of the issues which research in environmental epigenetics raises for the study of suicide, as well as for the social sciences more broadly.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Lloyd
    • 1
  • Eugene Raikhel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyLaval UniversityQuébecCanada
  2. 2.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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