Suicide Prevention as Governance: Suicide Discourses in Post-Martial Law Taiwan


This thesis re-examines the current dominance of suicide prevention discourse and the widely accepted pathologized suicide implications in contemporary Taiwan. Increasingly constructing suicide as a personal and psychological problem, this pathologization of suicide has helped the creation of institutions, discourses, and national policies that work together to form a concrete demonstration of social and emotional governance. Illuminated by Michael Foucault's archaeological methods of examining the current 'taken-for-granted' truth from a larger historical framework, this thesis analyzes the suicide discourses through historicizing the major transitions of suicide discourses, and cross-referencing with histories of medical sciences, psychiatry, the 'children protection' cause, changing representations of teenagers, as well as the transitions of political-socio-economical structure and cultural elements in Taiwan to find out what contributed to the current dominance of suicide prevention discourse. The current dominance of suicide prevention discourse is seen as a purifying force that works to eliminate the deviants and constructs its own essence as a delicate 'life politics' that props up an affective governance.

Author Information
Yi-Han Huag, National Central University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2016
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Humanities

This paper is part of the ACSS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon