By Marzio Barbagli
What drives somebody to take his or her personal lifestyles? Why might someone be prepared to strap a bomb to himself and stroll right into a crowded market, blowing himself up whilst he kills and maims the folks round him? Does suicide or 'voluntary death' have a similar which means at the present time because it had in previous centuries, and does it have a similar value in China, India and the center East because it has within the West? How may still we comprehend this distressing, frequently confusing phenomenon and the way will we clarify its styles and adaptations over time?
In this wide-ranging comparative learn, Barbagli examines suicide as a socio-cultural, non secular and political phenomenon, exploring the explanations that underlie it and the meanings it has bought in numerous cultures in the course of the global. Drawing on an enormous physique of study performed by means of historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists and psychologists, Barbagli indicates passable idea of suicide can't restrict itself to contemplating the 2 factors that have been highlighted by means of the good French sociologist Emile Durkheim - particularly, social integration and rules. Barbagli proposes a brand new account of suicide that hyperlinks the reasons for and value attributed to person activities with the folks for whom and opposed to whom contributors take their lives.
This new examine of suicide sheds clean mild at the cultural transformations among East and West and tremendously raises our knowing of an often-misunderstood act. it will likely be the definitive heritage of suicide for a few years to come back.
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Additional info for Farewell to the World: A History of Suicide
According to the illustrious French sociologist, social attitudes to suicide in Europe had gone through two main phases over the past two thousand years, gradually becoming more severe. In the first, which corresponds to the era of Greek and Latin civilization, individuals could not kill themselves acting on their own initiative, but it was permitted if they had the state’s consent. In the second phase, however, condemnation was ‘absolute and universal. The power to dispose of a human life, except when death is the punishment for a crime, is withheld not merely from the person concerned but from society itself.
Although insufficient documentation makes it quite difficult to reconstruct long-term and very long-term patterns of suicide frequencies in Europe, there are nonetheless figures and testimonials, albeit fragmentary and scattered, that allow us to trace a general picture of the great changes that The Worst Sin and the Gravest Crime 21 took place. This picture is still uncertain and subject to numerous corrections, but it leaves no doubt on one point: the rise in the number of suicides started over a century prior to the point identified by Durkheim and the other scholars whose concerns prompted them to study this phenomenon in the second half of the nineteenth century.
But what sense was there in digging a tunnel under the front door? No one would have thought that these men were installing a drainage system or sewers, because none of the houses at that time had sinks in the kitchens or bathrooms. But if the passer-by had had the patience to wait until the works were finished, he would have seen the purpose with his own eyes. Through the tunnel excavated under the front door, or through the opening made in the wall was passed the corpse of someone who had hanged themselves in the house.
Farewell to the World: A History of Suicide by Marzio Barbagli