Year: 2008 Source: Culture, Medicine, & Psychiatry, v.32, no.2, (June 2008), p.152-176 SIEC No: 20090799

Drawing on 2 years of fieldwork at psychiatric institutions around Tokyo, the author examines how psychiatrists try to persuade patients of the pathological nature of their suicidal intentions & how patients respond to such medicalization. Psychiatrists’ ambivalent attitudes toward pathologizing suicide & how they limit their biomedical jurisdiction by treating only what they regard as a biological anomaly while carefully avoiding the psychological realms are other topics that are explored. While the medicalization of suicide is cultivating a conceptual space for Japanese to debate how to bring the suicidal back onto the side of life, it does not seem poised to supplant the cultural discourse that has elevated suicide to a moral act of self-determination. (65 refs.)