Title

Making Sense of Self Harm

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Medical Anthropology Quarterly

Volume

30

Issue

3

Publisher

American Anthropological Association

Publication Date

5-18-2016

Abstract

In Making Sense of Self-harm: The Cultural Meaning and Social Context of Nonsuicidal Self-injury, Dr. Peter Steggals slowly and carefully circles around self-harm as a social construct. His book gathers up the underlying meanings and contradictions inherent in the practice and inspects them in turn. He makes a case that self-harm as we see it today in the form of skin cutting, picking, and other related phenomenon is unique to our time period and is not universally present across cultures— regardless of other mutilation, cutting, or piercing practices that may exist. And importantly, he starts by addressing our aversion to discussing it.

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