Queensland Aborigines, multiple realities and the social sources of suffering. Part 2: Suicide, spirits and symbolism

Cox, Leonie (2010) Queensland Aborigines, multiple realities and the social sources of suffering. Part 2: Suicide, spirits and symbolism. Oceania, 80(3), pp. 241-262.

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This is the second part of a paper that explores a range of magico-religious experiences such as immaterial voices and visions, in terms of local cultural, moral and socio-political circumstances in an Aboriginal town in rural Queensland. This part of the paper explores the political and cultural symbolism and meaning of suicide. It charts the saliency of suicide amongst two groups of kin and cohorts and the social meaningfulness and problematic of the voices and visions in relation to suicide, to identity and family forms and to funerals and a heavily drinking lifestyle. I argue that voices and visions are used to reinterpret social experience and to establish meaning and that tragically suicide evokes connectivity rather than anomie and here cannot be understood merely as an individualistic act or evidence of individual pathology. Rather it is about transformation and crossing a threshold to join an enduring domain of Aboriginality. In this life world, where family is the highest social value and where a relational view of persons holds sway, the individualistic practice of psychiatric and other helping professions, is a considerable problem.

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5 citations in Scopus
4 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 39494
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Australian Aborigines, Family Forms, Religion, Suicide, Grief
ISSN: 0029-8077
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > ANTHROPOLOGY (160100) > Social and Cultural Anthropology (160104)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 07 Jan 2011 06:57
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:26

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