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Title: Blades, blood and bandages : a qualitative investigation of self-injury
Author: McShane, Theresa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 2255
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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The perspective of the individual who self-injures has been under-represented in research. This study places the meaning of self-injury for these individuals at its core. People who self-injure can offer comprehensive and discerning insights into the behaviour. This study confirms the findings of earlier research that self-injury is often rooted in processes of suffering. The social and personal cost experienced by people who self-injure can be high, not only in direct relation to the self-injury itself, but also regarding the legacy of the processes of suffering in general from which self-injury emerged. In this study the processes of suffering, ritual and stigma are explored. Using a qualitative approach, data was collected from 25 self-injuring participants though semi-structured interviews. Interview data was supplemented by diaries and collections of poetry. The main findings from the study are that self-injury can emerge as an action scheme of escape from the processes of suffering. It is a highly stigmatised behaviour which can also develop into an extremely ritualised practice involving a complexity of meanings regarding the surroundings, the apparatus and the process. The self-injury ritual can be viewed as an extreme but therapeutic workout for the five senses of the human body.
Supervisor: Prior, Pauline ; McElrath, Karen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Self-injury ; ritual ; stigma ; suffering