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"Jag känner, att jag blir tokig, om jag lefver längre" : Självmordstolkningar i den svenska dagspressen under perioden 1864-1904 / "I feel like I'm losing my mind if I live any longer" : The view of suicide in the Swedish daily press during 1864-1904

  • Andersson, Gustav
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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The condemnation of suicide is a historical product whose presence has been sealed throughout history. Increased liberal views on humanity and gentle penal codes led to the desecration of the unfortunate dead being strongly questioned and subsequently spared from condemning customs and practices. This study focuses on a time when suicide was decriminalized in Sweden to examine the interpretations of suicide in Swedish newspapers during the period 1864–1904. In the extension, the study intends to contribute to a nuanced theoretical discussion of the subject, which is achieved via Judith Butler’s theory of grievability. A thematic analysis could ascertain four themes – sorrow, carelessness, laconic, and dramatic – which should be understood as representations of the newspapers’, Aftonbladet and Nya dagligt allehanda, view on suicide and as stereotypes of the suicide victims. The results show that condemnatory interpretations of suicide are of a subtle nature anchored in the discourse of history and marked by contemporary class ideals. This means that whoever seeks to understand historical suicide interpretations is dependent on contextualization. However, a homogeneous suicide image does not emerge from the material. The themes demonstrate two extremes that represent each other’s opposites in the hierarchy of grief which also actualizes the question of whether suicide as an act is grievable or whether who commits the act is decisive.

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