Taylor and Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme
This autoethnography explores the experience of societal meanings of suicide from the perspective of people bereaved by suicide. The research focuses on three autoethnographic stories of everyday experiences in which personal meaning making and societal meanings of suicide intersect in contemporary Australian settings. Personal perspectives are positioned alongside broader discussions of suicide taboo to consider the implications for agency and meaning making. Key differences between conventional notions of stigma and structural stigma, and ways in which suicide taboo influences meaning making for people bereaved by suicide are explored. The paper proposes a recasting of action previously framed as internalised stigma as proactive self-preservation by people bereaved by suicide. It concludes by arguing that building capacity to see the societal taboos of suicide creates opportunities for strengthening agency in personal narratives of bereavement by suicide.
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Society and Culture