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Visibility, Help-Seeking and Attention-Seeking

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Abstract

This chapter addresses the contexts in which self-injury occurs, and how it comes to be known by ‘others’. I explore the ways in which self-injury is accounted for within interpersonal relationships – both with intimate (and not so intimate) friends and family; and in the context of healthcare. The visibility of self-injury is highlighted as a central theme. Self-injury is more usually framed as hidden and secret. In contrast, I examine how the accounts of those who have self-injured work with and undermined this understanding. At the same time, I show that there are strong moral aspects to the concealment and revelation of self-injury. I argue that there are significant social and moral risks borne by those whose self-injury comes to be seen. In part, this can be related to the way in which medical practice has responded to, and shaped the meanings of, self-injury. More broadly, the importance of visibility within narratives of self-injury draws on cultural and clinical privileging of sight and touch, over and above more intangible, insubstantial ‘feelings’.

Keywords

Young People Young Participant Dominant Narrative Negative Framing Formal Healthcare 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LincolnLincolnUK

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