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Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 286–305 | Cite as

Behind the Statistics: The Ethnography of Suicide in Palestine

  • Nadia DabbaghEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

As part of the first anthropological study on suicide in the modern Arab world, statistics gathered from the Ramallah region of the West Bank in Palestine painted an apparently remarkably similar picture to that found in Western countries such as the UK and France. More men than women completed suicide, more women than men attempted suicide. Men used more violent methods such as hanging and women softer methods such as medication overdose. Completed suicide was higher in the older age range, attempted suicide in the younger. However, ethnographic fieldwork and detailed examination of the case studies and suicide narratives gathered and analysed within the cultural, political and economic contexts illustrated more starkly the differences in suicidal practices between Palestinian West Bank society of the 1990s and other regions of the world. The central argument of the paper is that although statistics tell a very important story, ethnography uncovers a multitude of stories ‘behind the statistics’, and thus helps us to make sense of both cultural context and subjective experience.

Keywords

Suicide Palestine Ethnography Statistics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dubai Health AuthorityDubaiUAE

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