Self-injury, Medicine & Society


Self-injury, Medicine & Society : Authentic Bodies, is a research monograph based on some of my research with people who have self-harmed.


This book provides an appreciative, sociological engagement with accounts of the embodied practice of self-injury. It shows that in order to understand self-injury, it is necessary to engage with widely circulating narratives about the nature of bodies, including that they are separate from, yet containers of ’emotion’. Using a sociological approach, the book examines what self-injury is, how it functions, and why someone might engage in it. It pays close attention to the corporeal aspects of self-injury, attending to the complex ways in which ‘lived experience’ is narrated.
By interrogating the way in which healthcare and psychiatric systems shape our understanding of self-injury, Self-Injury, Medicine and Society aims to re-invigorate traditional discourse on the subject. Combining analytical theory with real-life accounts, this book provides an engaging study which is both thought-provoking and informative. It will appeal to an interdisciplinary readership and scholars in the fields of medical sociology and health studies in particular.

Self-injury, Medicine & Society was awarded joint-winner of the 2017 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize, for best first book in sociology by the British Sociological Association; and was winner of the 2018 Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness book prize.

It is available to buy as an e-book, or hard cover (both come with a hefty price tag, so wherever possible, ask an institution to get it for their library!).


Paul Stronge, Durham University (Sociology of Health and Illness) “stimulating, meticulously researched and critically insightful … Self-Injury, Medicine and Society proves its worth as a satisfyingly original and provocative monograph which whets the appetite for further exploration”