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ERIC Number: ED146535
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-May
Reference Count: 0
Societal Roots of Violence and Suicide. Summary.
Gil, David G.
This essay interprets the dynamics of suicide based on a view of life as an autonomous process of the unfolding of genetically determined potential. The life process does not require external incentives; it depends, however, on needs-satisfying exchanges between individuals and their physical and social environment. Social orders of human groups can facilitate or obstruct these needed exchanges. Obstructions of these exchanges, and hence of the satisfaction of developmental needs, is defined as violence. Such obstructions may result from acts of individuals or from socially structured conditions. The latter form of violence is defined as "structural violence." Suicide tends to occur when individuals feel completely blocked in the unfolding of their potential as a result of structural violence. Conditions in the United States and in other capitalist societies are analyzed and are found to involve much structural violence, reflected in a high incidence of suicide. It is suggested that primary prevention of suicide requires political action toward eliminating structural violence from the social order, rather than merely professional and technical measures. (Author)
Descriptors: Antisocial Behavior, Behavior Patterns, Capitalism, Death, Individual Development, Psychopathology, Social Indicators, Sociocultural Patterns, State of the Art Reviews, Suicide, Violence
Suicide Prevention Center of San Mateo County, 220l0 20th Avenue, San Mateo, California, 94403
Publication Type: Reference Materials - Bibliographies
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association on Suicidology (May 20-22, 1977, Boston, Massachusetts)