Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

6201

Date

2018

Date of Award

11-13-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Sociology

Committee Chair

Carol Rambo

Committee Member

Wesley James

Committee Member

Gretchen Peterson

Abstract

Eleven in-depth life history interviews with respondents who identified as former self-injurers and a thematic analysis of the existing qualitative literature on self-injury constitute the data for this research. Self-injury, a growing public health concern, has typically been framed by researchers as an individual level, psychological, phenomenon with largely negative connotations. Edgework, a theoretical orientation which has been used to explain voluntary risk-taking such as skydiving and mountain climbing, has been applied to the activity of self-injury. The interviews and qualitative research on self-injury were coded for the presence of edgework as a vocabulary of motive. Framed as edgework, this distinctly sociological approach casts self-injury as a socially produced phenomenon which can be viewed as a reaction to oversocialization/alienation, a way to regulate negative internal conversation, a bid for self-actualization, realization, and determination, and more. Through edgework theory, self-injury can be understood to “make sense” at times.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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