Theatrical medicine: aboriginal performance, ritual and commemoration (for Vanessa Lee Buckner).

The paper begins by discussing some Aboriginal teachings offering the authorÕs working definition of Medicine based on the teachings that elders have shared. These cultural traditions reflect a belief in the power of performance and the possibility of performance as medicinal. The paper applies some of these teachings about Medicine to suggest that the form […]

Chol understandings of suicide and human agency.

According to ethnographic material collected since 2003, the Chol Mayan indigenous people in southern Mexico have different causal explanations for suicide. It can be attributed to witchcraft that forces victims to take their lives against their own will, to excessive drinking, or to fate determined by God. However, it can also be conceived of as […]

Ritual vicissitudes: The uncertainties of Singaporean suicide rites.

In this article, I examine how Singaporean Chinese families and funeral professionals work together to ritually manage the meaning and consequences of a death by suicide. While the now dated literature on Chinese mortuary practice emphasizes the formality and rigidity of death rituals, during fieldwork I noted many moments of confusion within ritual, moments of […]

Suicide and the afterlife: Popular religion and the standardization of “culture” in Japan.

For an overwhelming majority of commentators, including many anthropologists, ÔJapanese cultureÕ is still associated with a positive view of suicide. Western-language writings have contributed by feedback loop to perpetuate this stereotype. Besides the local Ôsamurai ethicÕ, Japanese Buddhism is also said not to prohibit taking oneÕs life. However, the most popular examples of heroic self-sacrifice, […]

Suicidal Intention and Self-Immolation: What is the Outcome?

The authors comment on an article by Thombs & Bresnick (2008) in which they reported data from the American Burn Association National Burn Repository found no difference in mortality or length of stay in patients whose injuries were self-inflicted compared with those whose burns were caused by accident. (16 refs.)

‘Death is Preferable to Ignominy’: Politically Motivated Suicide, Social Honor and Chieftaincy Politics in Early Colonial Ibadan

Most modern theories do not emphasize the idea of heroic suicide. The high profile, politically motivated suicides in early colonial Ibadan (Nigeria) discussed in this paper epitomize this type of suicide. It is suggested the key to understanding these cases is to be found not only in the people’s multilayered past – the general Yoruba […]

Snehalata’s Death: Dowry and Women’s Agency in Colonial Bengal


Suicide to Harass Others: Clues From Mythology to Understanding Suicide Bombing Attacks

Suicide in Asia


Wife Burning: Cultural Cues for Lethal Violence Against Women Among Asian Indians in the United States


Sati: a Type of Nonpsychiatric Suicide

Suicide (IN: Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, ed. by G Howarth and O Leaman)


Suicide by Firearms (IN: Gunshot Wounds: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, by V J M Di Maio)

This chapter analyzes suicide by firearms. Choice of firearm, location of gunshot wound & sex of victim are discussed. Forensic evidence & principles that the medical examiner in Texas considers when investigating a possible suicide are discussed. Forensic evidence that differentiates suicide from accidental death is presented. (6 refs) (SC)

The Jaina Ethic of Voluntary Death

This article examines attitudes towards the practice of assisted suicide in India & the United States with brief references to historical accounts of assisted suicide in both countries. Some of the Indian community’s own reflections on the bioethical implications of euthanasia are presented. Constitutional issues that have been raised in legal deliberations on the fundamental […]

Getting out of Life… Cultural Traditions and the Modeling Effect in the Suicide of Elderly People


The Middle-Aged Generation is at High Risk for Suicide in Japan

The suicide rate in Japan was the highest in the world the 10 years after WWII. There were many suicides among young & aged people. Now, Japan has many suicides among middle-aged people, & suicides among elderly people are still remarkable. These findings suggest that middle-aged people in 1980s have a high risk of suicide […]

Masked Suicide and Culture (IN: The Relevance of Culture, ed. by M Freilich)

This chapter discusses suicide as it exists within culture. Various cultural explorations of suicide are reviewed, including Durkheim’s. 2 aspects that encourage a positive evaluation of suicide are given, with examples drawn from Japanese customs such as seppuku. Examples of “masked” suicide from different cultures are given, in which an individual arranges to have himself […]

Japanese Suicide and American Wartime Policy Analysis

Suicide and Satanism

This article reports a 1987 suicide by shooting which was the culmination of a 2 year fascination with satanism for a 16 year old Nova Scotia boy. A family counsellor claims a growing number of teenagers practice satanic worship. It also describes some characteristics of satanism, other incidents of violence linked to satanism, & offers […]

Myths and Rituals: Anthropological Views and Their Application in Strategic Family Therapy

Presents 3 anthropological theories of the functions of myths which seem relevant to family therapists, & provides a working definition of ritual. Uses a case example to propose a bifocal model of family therapy which connects the concepts of myth & ritual to 2 levels of culture (ideational & material) & helps to integrate therapeutic […]

La Mort Volontaire au Japan (HV 6548 J3 P56 1984)

Death by suicide is interpreted differently in Japanese culture than it is in Western society. Author Maurice Pinguet examines Japanese attitudes toward suicide, illustrating the influence that tradition, history & philosophy have had on Japanese thought about self murder. 380 pages, 17 photographs. (NBB)

There is Always a Strong Wind When a Good Man Dies

This obituary-style article deals with the suicide of Nelson Small Legs, Jr. who sacrificed his life in the cause of native rights. In addition to remarks about the burial & events leading up to the suicide, the article reviews aspects of the native struggle for equal rights. (LH)

Revenge Suicide by Lusi Women: An Expression of Power (IN: Rethinking Women’s Roles, ed. by D O’Brien and S Tiffany)

Using data from the Lusi-speaking Kaliai of northwest New Britain, the author demonstrates that suicide is part of a pattern of behaviour for powerless people, that this pattern is communicated in oral literature, that it follows rules, & that it has predictable results. In this context, suicide is a political alternative that permits the powerless, […]