Introduction: Constructing and Situating an Embodied, Sociological Account of Self-Injury



This chapter provides an overview of the key themes of the book. Self-injury, Medicine and Society represents an attempt to move past a position of shock and horror, towards one of intellectual and appreciative engagement with the practice of self-injury, and the social and cultural contexts in which it takes place and is constituted as a phenomena. Such an orientation involves not just attempting to understand self-injury from the perspective of those practicing it, but also to examine how self-injury is understood more broadly. To ask what cultural – including clinical – narratives and scripts people who self-injure draw upon to explain, or justify, their actions. A running theme, introduced here and running throughout the book, is that self-injury resists easy categorisation. At the same time, there have been, and continue to be, significant attempts to fix the meanings of self-injury, and these are critically explored.


Eating Disorder Industrialise Society External Debate Body Modification Introductory Chapter 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LincolnLincolnUK

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