The social construction of suicide in Libyan society

Eljadei, EO 2012, The social construction of suicide in Libyan society , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The aim of this study is to explore how the suicide act is constructed and evaluated in Libyan society. The methodology includes an analysis of 172 prosecutors' files covering the period from 2000 to 2009 which exist in the sub-public prosecution departments. These concern cases of those who succeeded in committing suicide and of those who tried to commit suicide but were unsuccessful. The study also includes semi-structured interviews with officials (including prosecutors, law enforcement officers and medical practitioners) in order to examine and explain the part played by officials in the social construction of suicide. Findings indicate there are distinct ways in which suicide in Libya is socially constructed and this varies depending upon the perspectives of officials, witnesses and the person who has taken their life. The current study reveals important factors which are trusted by officials to inform their decisions about suicide verdicts. These include:- medical evidence, the crime's theatre, witnesses' statements, mode of death, the biography of the deceased, suicide notes and threats to commit suicide, and finger prints. The interpretation of suicide by officials may be summarised by the following themes: - life's problems, religious weakness, psychological illnesses, and escaping from the current situation. Witnesses construe the meaning of suicide along the following lines:- study problems, physical illnesses, religion, psychological illnesses, self blame, and escape from current situation. However, for those who have taken their life or attempted to take it, suicide may be evaluated in terms of the following themes - self blaming, frustration, escape, emotional blackmail, and revenge. An important theme of the thesis is to demonstrate that people construct the meaning of suicide according to the cultural contexts they are placed in. The examination of such constructions has the potential to reflect broader social anxieties in a particular society such as the role of religious knowledge in a secular state.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Quraishi, MM (Supervisor) and Birkbeck, CH (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2021 12:19
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:23

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