Common-Sense Theorizing about Suicide

  • J. Maxwell Atkinson


Though the apparent use of common-sense theories of suicide by officials in arriving at a verdict of suicide seemed to be an important finding of the research reported in the previous chapter, it can be argued, particularly with reference to the more recently gathered data, that too much of a distinction was made between that and the analysis of the circumstances immediately surrounding the death. Thus the focus in the conclusion was more on the theorizing and its significance, while the relationship between that activity and the analysis of the death was under-emphasized and not explored to the full. This topic will be taken up again later and, for the present, I want to deal with another problem posed by that earlier conclusion with special reference to its implications for further research. The remainder of the chapter proceeds with a report on research which was done in an attempt to follow up those preliminary conclusions.


Mental Hospital Newspaper Report Previous Chapter Accidental Death Suicidal Event 
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  1. 1.
    See L. T. Wilkins, Social Policy, Action and Research, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1964. Examples of the application of the Deviance Amplification Model to particular types of deviance are S. Cohen, ‘Mods, Rockers and the rest: Community Reactions to Juvenile Delinquency’, Howard Journal, 1967, 12, pp. 121–130, and J. Young, The Drugtakers, London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1971.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    See for example the discussions presented in the session ‘Suicide in Adolescents and Youth’, in N. L. Farberow (Ed.), 1968, pp. 356–395.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    See for example W. W. Sharrock’s discussion of ‘The Problem of Order’ in P. Worsley et al., 1970. Comparing conflict and consensus theories of order, Sharrock shows how both attend to similar data and use similar methods so that the difference between them is essentially an interpretive one which cannot simply be resolved by reference to any clear warranting procedures.Google Scholar

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© J. Maxwell Atkinson 1978

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  • J. Maxwell Atkinson

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