Authentic Bodies, Authentic Selves



This final, concluding chapter draws together a number of threads relating to authenticity, which have been raised in earlier chapters. I show how a view of authenticity as, variously, normative, phenomenological and socially constructed opens up further ways of understanding narratives about self-injury. Authenticity emerges as a central concept in how self-injury is articulated, and how narratives about the practice draw on wider cultural ideas about emotions, bodies and medicine. I conclude with some final reflections on the importance of medicine, embodiment and the social to cultural understandings about the practice of self-injury.


Negative Emotion Psychotropic Drug Cosmetic Surgery Physical Pain Emotional Pain 
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.


  1. Adler, P., & Adler, P. (2007). The demedicalization of self-injury: From psychopathology to sociological deviance. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 36(5), 537–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adler, P., & Adler, P. (2011). The tender cut: Inside the hidden world of self-injury. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ahmed, S. (2014). The cultural politics of emotion (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  4. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Arlington: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Atkinson, P. (2009). Illness narratives revisited: The failure of narrative reductionism. Sociological Research Online, 14, 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baudrillard, J. (1998). The consumer society: Myths and structures. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Bordo, S. (1993). Unbearable weight; feminism, western culture and the body’ Berkley. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Brighenti, A. (2007). Visibility: A category for the social sciences. Current Sociology, 55(3), 323–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buchman, D. Z., Borgelt, E. L., Whiteley, L., & Illes, J. (2013). Neurobiological narratives: Experiences of mood disorder through the lens of neuroimaging. Sociology of Health & Illness, 35(1), 66–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chandler, A. (2014). Narrating the self-injured body. Medical Humanities, 40(2), 111–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chaney, S. (2011). Self-control, selfishness and mutilation: How ‘medical’ is self-injury anyway? Medical History, 55(3), 375–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crouch, W., & Wright, J. (2004). Deliberate self-harm at an adolescent unit: A qualitative investigation. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 9(2), 1359–1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Das, V. (1996). Language and body: Transactions in the construction of pain. Daedalus, 125(1), 67–91.Google Scholar
  14. Erickson, R. J. (1995). The importance of authenticity for self and society. Symbolic Interaction, 18(2), 121–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Featherstone, M. (Ed.). (2000). Body modification. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Ferrara, A. (1998). Reflective authenticity: Rethinking the project of modernity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Ferreira, V. S. (2014). Becoming a heavily tattooed young body: From a bodily experience to a body project. Youth & Society, 46(3), 303–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fullagar, S. (2009). Negotiating the neurochemical self: Anti-depressant consumption in women’s recovery from depression. Health, 13(4), 389–406.Google Scholar
  19. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  20. Gilman, S. L. (2013). From psychiatric symptom to diagnostic category: Self-harm from the Victorians to DSM-5. History of Psychiatry, 24(2), 148–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gimlin, D. (2006). The absent body project: Cosmetic surgery as a response to bodily dys-appearance. Sociology, 40(4), 699–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hacking, I. (1998). Mad travelers: Reflections on the reality of transient mental illnesses. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hochschild, A. R. (2003). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling, with a new afterword (20th Anniversary, 2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Horne, O., & Csipke, E. (2009). From feeling too little and too much, to feeling more and less? A nonparadoxical theory of the functions of self-harm. Qualitative Health Research, 19(5), 655–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Johansson, A. (2011). Constituting ‘real’ cutters: A discourse theoretical analysis of self-harm and identity. In A. E. Sjolander & J. G. Payne (Eds.), Tracking discourses. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kirtley, O. J., O’Carroll, R. E., & O’Connor, R. C. (2015). The role of endogenous opioids in non-suicidal self-injurious behavior: Methodological challenges. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 48, 186–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Loseke, D. R. (2001). Lived realities and formula stories of “battered women”. In J. S. Gubrium & J. A. Holstein (Eds.), Institutional selves: Troubled identities in a postmodern world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lupton, D. (2012). Medicine as culture (3rd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Lyon, M. L. (1996). C. Wright Mills meets Prozac: The relevance of ‘social emotion’ to the sociology of health and illness. In V. James & J. Gabe (Eds.), Health and the sociology of emotions. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. Martin, E. (2006). The pharmaceutical person. BioSocieties, 1(3), 273–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McShane, T. (2012). Blades, blood and bandages: The experiences of people who self-injure. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  32. Meštrović, S. G. (1997). Postemotional society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Millard, C., & Wessley, S. (2014). Parity of esteem between mental and physical health: Means different things to different people, making it difficult to enforce. BMJ, 349, g6821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mol, A. (2003). The body multiple: Ontology in medical practice. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Ritzer, G. (1996). The McDonaldization of society: An investigation into the changing character of contemporary social life. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  36. Rose, N. (2003). Neurochemical selves. Society, 41(1), 46–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rose, N., & Abi-Rached, J. M. (2013). Neuro: The new brain sciences and the management of the mind. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Scott, M. B., & Lyman, S. M. (1968). Accounts. American Sociological Review, 33(1), 46–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shilling, C. (2003). The body and social theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Simmel, G. (2010). The metropolis and mental life. In G. Bridge & S. Watson (Eds.), The Blackwell city reader. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  41. Smith, J. (2012). The parent’s guide to self-harm: What parents need to know. Oxford: Lion Books.Google Scholar
  42. Steggals, P. (2015). Making sense of self-harm: The cultural meaning and social context of nonsuicidal self-injury. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stepnisky, J. (2007). The biomedical self: Hermeneutic considerations. Social Theory and Health, 5(3), 187–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sweetman, P. (2000). Anchoring the (postmodern) self? Body modification, fashion and identity. In M. Featherstone (Ed.), Body modification. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Underwood, M. (2013). Body as choice or body as compulsion: An experiential perspective on body–self relations and the boundary between normal and pathological. Health Sociology Review, 22(4), 377–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vannini, P., & Williams, P. J. (2009). Authenticity in culture, self, and society. Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  47. Young, R., Sproeber, N., Groschwitz, R., Preiss, M., & Plener, P. (2014). Why alternative teenagers self-harm: Exploring the link between non-suicidal self-injury, attempted suicide and adolescent identity. BMC Psychiatry, 14(1), 137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LincolnLincolnUK

Personalised recommendations