The Neo - The Neo-phenomenological Approach to Suicide....

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The Neo-phenomenological Approach to Suicide. Jacobs (in "Social Problems": No. 15, 1967) wanted to understand how "suicidal individuals" defined their social situation and, to this end, conducted an extensive study of suicide notes left by "successful" suicides. Jacobs concluded that: 1. The individual must believe that their situation is intolerable / not solvable. 2. They must believe that death is the only answer. 3. They must define their situation as being beyond their power to control. Again, a number of methodological problems arise in the above: 1. Only a minority of suicides leave a note. 2. Suicide notes are frequently ambiguous and difficult to interpret: In addition, we have no way of knowing whether or not the suicidal individual is "telling the truth" or simply rationalising the situation. In this respect, Jacobs provides no way of differentiating between the two; he simply assumes that the suicide note is "the truth", as defined by the suicidal individual. 3. Suicide notes might explain how an individual "justifies" his / her behaviour, but they do not tell us very much about why a person was in that situation in the first place. 4. What is the significance of "leaving a suicide note"? Such a form of analysis gives us little indication about why some people feel it necessary to leave a note, whilst others do not. .. Jack Douglas ("The Social Meaning of Suicide", 1967), argues that in order to understand the social meaning of suicide we have to do two things: 1. Carry-out a detailed analysis of the meaning of particular suicidal acts through: a. Interviews with survivors b. Case studies of suicides c. Documentary evidence (personal diaries and so forth). 2. Look for recurring patterns of meaning, such as: Revenge Cries for help Escape Repentance In this respect, because suicidal individuals have some form of cultural concept of the meaning of suicide (that is, an idea about what others in society mean by suicide - for
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example, that there is "something wrong" with the individual, that people are somehow "driven by others" to commit suicide), suicides can effectively "revenge themselves" in death - by blaming others - in a way that proved impossible in life. Finally,
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2012 for the course SCIE SYG2000 taught by Professor Bernhardt during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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The Neo - The Neo-phenomenological Approach to Suicide....

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