HomeSuicide: individual or societal question?

Suicide: individual or societal question?

Le suicide : question individuelle ou sociétale ?

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Published on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 by Élodie Faath

Summary

This international symposium is organized through the joint efforts of the Ph.D. students of the Association Clermontoise des Doctorants en Droit (ACDD) and of the Centre de Recherche sur les Littératures (CELIS). Its aim is to discuss suicide as an interdisciplinary topic. This symposium aims to pursue the questioning from a multidisciplinary perspective encompassing philosophy, history, law, literature, medicine and other fields of knowledge, so as to shed more light on the various issues and discrepancies of suicide as well as on aspects such as its institutional suppression, its most eccentric representations and its individual reclamation in the name of different ideals.

Announcement

Argument

This international symposium Suicide: individual or societal question?, (June 12th-13th 2014, Clermont Ferrand) is organized through the joint efforts of the Ph.D. students of the Centre Michel de l'Hospital (CMH) and of the Centre de Recherche sur les Littératures (CELIS). Its aim is to discuss suicide as an interdisciplinary topic.

Suicide is a phenomenon present in all cultures irrespective of age, gender or social class. In fact, is there any other incident that is more common and yet more concealed?

Perhaps it is not pointless to recall a truism: no individual chooses to be born and if life is seen as a mysterious and precious gift, then suicide is naturally perceived as an incomprehensible drama: why would one be willing to take their life?

But suicide is also a social taboo to be concealed and eluded more than death: how to accept that one can hanker for nothingness, thus turning survival instinct into a death wish?

As an immediate reaction to suicide, one sets out to unravel the cause of this fateful act. Psychological weakness or clouded judgment? Either way, it is normal and somewhat reassuring to play suicide down as a pathological condition due to poor health or to a mental illness. If, under certain circumstances, suicide is a brutal and senseless event to be fought against by taking preventive measures through public health campaigns, a question still arises: could there be suicide that is not in the wrong?

Should death – the most intimate event on an individual level – be evaluated against general values and should it be publicly prohibited? From a moral point of view, the answer is more than obvious: the ultimate gesture that takes away any opportunity to alleviate suffering and consequently robs the individual of any future is to be regarded as an absolute evil.

Nevertheless, without advocating suicide, some philosophers and writers failed to find the cause for suicide in an unbearable malaise. Instead, they postulated that suicide reflects a higher existential imperative and a particular way of claiming individual freedom. By attributing a certain aesthetical, philosophical, ethical or political positivity to self-annihilation, they found signification in the absence of any meaning. Therefore, it is legitimate to inquire into the reasons behind suicide seen as a life concept or as a means of reaching a fullness of being: how to become oneself by eliminating the self? And what happens to those who are left behind?

Means of contesting or of expressing belonging (collective suicides), alternately fascinating and stigmatized, not on a par with social and legal values (assisted suicide is considered homicide in France), suicide continues to puzzle and impregnate the collective imagination. This problematic and yet constant human phenomenon seems to challenge the notions of community and cohesion.

Historically, fluctuating notions like criminology and victimology have constantly been used in connection with this individual act. In 2007, the Vincent Humbert case provoked a social debate about suicide. Conditioned by social reprobation, suicide was deemed a criminal offense for a long time. In 1810, the French Penal Code abolished this equivalence. “In England, this abolition was a tardy decision: religious sanctions existed until 1823, while civil sanctions until 1870. It wasn’t until 1961 that suicide stopped being considered a crime”, Georges Minois pointed out in his Histoire du suicide: La société occidentale face à la mort volontaire (1995). However, these actions did not end the continual questioning and thoughts about suicide. In fact, euthanasia and assisted suicides are currently condemned in France. The European Court of Human Rights has yet to include suicide among the other human rights, while countries such as the Netherlands or Luxembourg authorize assisted suicide or active suicide. In France, the National Consultative Ethics Committee issued a report recommending that euthanasia or assisted suicide not be legalized.

If suicide has aroused a lot of academic interest, its secrets have yet to be revealed completely. Psychological and sociological research developed a common basis for reflection and a scientific approach still prevailing.

This symposium aims to pursue the questioning from a multidisciplinary perspective encompassing philosophy, history, law, literature, medicine and other fields of knowledge, so as to shed more light on the various issues and discrepancies of suicide as well as on aspects such as its institutional suppression, its most eccentric representations and its individual reclamation in the name of different ideals.

A few non exhaustive aspects could be considered:

  • Philosophy and History of suicide;
  • Suicide and decision/repression (current taboos against suicide: infant/teenage suicide or elderly);
  • Suicide representations in arts and literature;
  • In the name of which moral or social value can we forbid suicide? Why set up a public health policy to prevent suicides? On what grounds?

Submission guidelines

This conference welcomes any interested scholar (PhD candidates, Assistant, Associate and Full Professors).

Please submit your abstract (no more than 500 words) by e-mail: doc.acdd.celis@gmail.com 

before the december 1st 2014.

Deadline of acceptance : January, 31st 2014.

Scientific committee

  • Pascale Auraix-Jonchière, Pr Littérature française
  • Philippe Bourdin, Pr Histoire moderne
  • Baptiste Boyer, Dr Médecine légale
  • Anne-Blandine Caire, Pr Droit privé
  • Charles-André Dubreuil, Pr Droit Public
  • Pierre Ganivet, Mcf Histoire du Droit
  • Laurent Gerbaud, Pr Service de santé universitaire
  • Pierre-Michel Llorca, Pr Psychiatrie
  • Catherine Milkovitch-Rioux, Pr Littérature française
  • Saulo Neiva, Pr Littérature portugaise et brésilienne
  • Bertrand Nouailles, Agrégé et Dr en Philosophie
  • Agnès Roche, Mcf Sciences Politiques
  • Jean-Baptiste Perrier Mcf Droit Pénal

Organising committee

Caroline Crépiat, Anaïs Gayte, Alice Juliet, Camille Moisan, Grégory Bouchaud, Gheorghe Derbac.

Selected bibliography

BACQUÉ, Marie-Frédérique (dir.), La Médecine face à la mort : Alliance ou combat ?, Paris, L’Esprit du Temps, 2013.
BAUDELOT, Christian, ESTABLET, Roger, Suicide, l’envers de notre monde, Paris, Editions du Seuil, 2006.
BAYET, Albert, Le suicide et la morale, (thèse), Paris, Librairie Félix Alcan, 1922.
BRAUD, Michel, La tentation du suicide dans les écrits autobiographiques 1930-1970, Paris, PUF, coll. « Perspectives critiques », 1992.
CHARAZAC-BRUNEL, Marguerite, Prévenir le suicide : clinique et prise en charge, Paris, Dunod, 2002.
CHEYNET de BEAUPRE, Aline, « Quand le vif saisit la mort», RJPF, 01/04/2013.
COMITE CONSULTATIF NATIONAL D'ETHIQUE, «Fin de vie, autonomie de la personne, volonté de mourir», Avis n°121, 01/07/2013.
CYRULNIK, Boris, Quand un enfant se donne « la mort ». Attachement et sociétés. Rapport remis à Madame Jeannette Bougrab, secrétaire d’Etat chargée de la Jeunesse et de la Vie associative, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2011.
DAUBE, David, « The Linguistics of Suicide », in Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Summer, 1972), pp. 387-437.
DURCKHEIM, Émile, Le suicide [1930], Paris, PUF, réed. 2007.
FAVRE, Robert, La Mort au siècle des lumières, Lyon, PU de Lyon, 1978.
FOURNIER M. le doyen, Problèmes juridiques, médicaux et sociaux de la mort: diagnostic de la mort, prélèvements d'organes, suicide, euthanasie, Paris, Editions Cujas, cop. 1979.
GIRAULT Carole, « La Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme ne reconnaît pas l'existence d'un droit à la mort», JCP G (semaine juridique) édition générale, 09/04/2003.
GODINEAU, Dominique, S'abréger les jours: Le suicide en France au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Armand Colin, 2012.
GRISÉ, Yolande, Le suicide dans la Rome antique, Montréal-Paris, Bellarmin-Les Belles Lettres, 1982.
HANUS, Michel, Le Deuil après suicide, Paris, Editions Maloine, 2004.
L’Histoire, no 189, juin 1995, Dossier « Le Suicide en Occident : De l’éloge à la condamnation », pp. 22-45.
L’Histoire, no 27, octobre 1980, Dossier « L’histoire du suicide », pp. 37-55.
LEGROS Bérengère,«Euthanasie, arrêt de traitement, soins palliatifs et sédation: l'encadrement par le droit de la prise en charge médicale de la fin de vie», Bordeaux, Les études hospitalières, 2011.
MARTINENT, Eric, REYNIER, Mathieu, VIALLIA, François, «Une tentative de libéralisation de l'acte thanatique sans ordonnance devant la CEDH : la continuation de la politique devant d'autres moyens», Recueil Dalloz Sirey, 31/03/2011.
MERRICK, Jeffrey, « Suicide, society and history : the case of Bourdeaux and Humain, 25 December 1773 », in SVEC, Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2000, pp. 71-115.
MINOIS, Georges, Histoire du suicide : La société occidentale face à la mort volontaire, Paris, Fayard, 1995.
MORON, Pierre, Le suicide, Paris, PUF, coll. « Que sais-je », 1975.
MURRAY, Alexander, Suicide in the Middle Ages, volume I, The Violent Against Themselves, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008.
MURRAY, Alexander, Suicide in the Middle Ages, volume II, The Curse on One-Self Murder, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011.
PINGUET, Maurice, La mort volontaire au Japon, Paris, Gallimard, 1984.
Rapport SICARD, en ligne, http://www.social-sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Rapport-de-lacommission-de-reflexion-sur-la-fin-de-vie-en-France.pdf
TERRE François, Le suicide [colloque, Paris, 13-14 janvier 1989], Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1994.

Places

  • Clermont-Ferrand, France (63)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, December 01, 2013

Keywords

  • suicide, interdisciplinarité, droit, médecine, littérature

Contact(s)

  • Centre de Recherches sur les Littératures et la Sociopoétique (CELIS) Doctorants du Centre Michel de l'Hospital (CMH)
    courriel : doc [dot] acdd [dot] celis [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Centre de Recherches sur les Littératures et la Sociopoétique (CELIS) Doctorants du Centre Michel de l'Hospital (CMH)
    courriel : doc [dot] acdd [dot] celis [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Suicide: individual or societal question? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, October 01, 2013, https://calenda.org/260467

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