#BlackGirlTragic: An Auto-ethnographic Sociological Autopsy of Attitudes Towards Suicidality among Black Women

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Abstract Summary

There is a significant gap in social scientific knowledge about suicide amongst black women. Existing research on this topic is limited and relegated to rigid frameworks of thought based on assumptions of pathology and trauma. This project seeks to interpret the phenomenological implications of suicidal conduct as a response to being socially killed through systemic disenfranchisement. More closely, this project seeks to understand the ways in which expressions of suicidality amongst black women exemplify a status of social death. How are black women forced to encounter death as a discourse of living? Can the condition of social death explain aspects of suicidal ideation and suicidal conduct among black women? Social death carries socio-genetic consequences that have informed, developed and ascribed epistemologies and ontologies of non-humanness upon black women as objects rather than beings. This project utilizes a mixed-methods research design in which auto-ethnographical personal narrative is used in tandem with a quasi-quantitative research method called sociological autopsy. Sociological autopsy is an emerging mixed-methods investigational approach in which critical observation of several cases of suicidal lives are made in order to triangulate consistent thematic content that informs the intellectual questions being investigated.

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