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– So, why do you cut? Self-injury and Interpellation: the Case of Ellie Nash
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Cultural Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2071-349X
2011 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Questions about self-injury has attracted extensively interest during the last decades, the phenomena is said to have increased among adolescent females and young women. Self-injury is predominantly understood as a reaction to inner distress of various kind or as a fashion spread through different cultures (for instance various youth cultures like goth or EMO). In this paper I understand SI as a combination of those perspectives, which means that self-injury is understood as a reaction to feeling of badness but the way this is expressed are relying on resources activated in cultures.  Using the character Ellie Nash from the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation as case this paper discuss questions about visual representations and discourses of bodies in crisis.

I suggest that a majority of self-injurers harm themselves because they are “taught” how to react to discomfort through interpersonal communication and cultural expressions, here I focus on the later. Theoretically this view is supported by interpellation and discourse theories, as well as research on cultural diseases and symptoms.

As the ethnologist Anna Johansson has observed the body of a self-injurer has become a “tool” to express inner crises – a “soul” in pain. The injured body communicate or visualise invisible feelings and emotions. Through history people always has had feelings of distress for various reasons, but the way these are expressed is varying over time due to different cultural practises. Self-injury has today become a meaningful way of expressing inner emotions. Here mediated narratives and visualisations becomes an important source, through them people can learn why self-injury is practiced, in which situations and how the act is executed. And maybe most important who is self-injuring – which creates possibilities of identification. Media provides narratives, manuscripts and role models to follow and reproduce. The character Ellie Nash that starts to injure herself during the third season of Degrassi: The Next Generation is one example of how this can be done. A reason for choosing Nash as a case is that she was pointed out by one informant that took part in my research as her introduction to self-injuring behaviour. Nash seems also to be important for many others judging from all the clips of her on YouTube. By examine her story we can begin to understand how self-injury can be explained and made intelligible, how it’s narrated, which props that is used, costume etc. We will also see how the activity is inscribed as a gendered practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
self-injury, gender, interpellation
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Humanities, Art science; Social Sciences, Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-20284OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-20284DiVA: diva2:535861
Conference
The International Conference "Bodies in Crisis" The Nordic Network Gender, Body, Health in collaboration with RIKK – Center for Women’s and Gender Research and EDDA – Center of Excellence at University of Iceland, 2-4 November, 2011 University of Iceland, Reykjavik
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-06-20 Created: 2012-06-20 Last updated: 2016-05-03Bibliographically approved

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http://www.genna.gender.uu.se/1T4bkEy%2bh5c%3d.linkx?type=file&id=10

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Sternudd, Hans T.

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