The ‘Suicide in/as Politics’ project is a three-year, interdisciplinary, and qualitative research project (funded by Leverhulme Trust), which examines the ways in which suicide is constructed within public and political discourses. Our project recognises that suicide is complex and is shaped by social, cultural, and political factors which are not reducible to individual mental health problems. Situated between sociology and political studies ‘Suicide in/as Politics’ is generating new knowledge on suicide. We have investigated the ways in which suicide is constructed and employed in formal political discourse and policy documents, an area where there has been very limited academic attention. We did this by analysing all UK suicide prevention documents in use in all four nations of the UK between 2009 and 2019, by examining debates on suicide in all four UK legislatures and by exploring third sector campaigns which address suicide. In the next phase of the project, we are reaching out to and engaging with diverse publics in England and Scotland to share our research and explore public understandings of suicide. Through innovative and collaborative arts-based research workshops we will investigate how community members respond to, and make sense of, political and policy meanings and uses of suicide.
Dr Ana Jordan, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln
Dr Alex Oaten, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln
Dr Amy Chandler, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh
Dr Hazel Marzetti, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh