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Sociological autopsy: an integrated approach to the study of suicide in men

Scourfield, Jonathan, Fincham, Ben, Langer, Susanne and Shiner, Michael (2012) Sociological autopsy: an integrated approach to the study of suicide in men. Social Science & Medicine, 74 (4). pp. 466-473. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.01.054


This papers main aim is to argue the methodological case for a particular approach to researching the sociology of suicide. By way of illustrating the use of this approach it also offers some brief examples of substantive findings about the gendered character of mens suicides. The first half of the article explains and justifies the research approach. This is a qualitatively-driven mixed method and dual paradigm study of individual suicides. It is a sociological study which draws on the tradition of psychological autopsies of suicide; hence the term sociological autopsy. The second half of the article offers brief illustrative findings from a specific research project which employed the sociological autopsy approach. This was a study of 100 suicide case files from a coroners office in the UK. There is discussion of common sense assumptions about suicide in men; the construction of evidence in case files; a typology of gendered suicides where relationship breakdown seems to be the principal trigger; and the value of case-based analysis, with a single case discussed in some detail.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Elsevier V.B.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2012 15:37
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:47

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