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Cutting, burning, branding, and bone-breaking are all types of self-injury, or the deliberate, non-suicidal destruction of one's own body tissue, a practice that emerged from obscurity in the 1990s and spread dramatically as a typical behavior among adolescents. This book presents a portrait of this troubling behavior.
Cutting, burning, branding, and bone-breaking are all types of self-injury, or the deliberate, non-suicidal destruction of one's own body tissue, a practice that emerged from obscurity in the 1990s and spread dramatically as a typical behavior among adolescents. Long considered a suicidal gesture, The Tender Cut argues instead that self-injury is often a coping mechanism, a form of teenage angst, an expression of group membership, and a type of rebellion, converting unbearable emotional pain into manageable physical pain.
Based on the largest, qualitative, non-clinical population of self-injurers ever gathered, noted ethnographers Patricia and Peter Adler draw on 150 interviews with self-injurers from all over the world, along with 30,000-40,000 internet posts in chat rooms and communiques. Their 10-year longitudinal research follows the practice of self-injury from its early days when people engaged in it alone and did not know others, to the present, where a subculture has formed via cyberspace that shares similar norms, values, lore, vocabulary, and interests. An important portrait of a troubling behavior, The Tender Cut illuminates the meaning of self-injury in the 21st century, its effects on current and former users, and its future as a practice for self-discovery or a cry for help.
Patricia A. Adler (Ph.D., University of California, San Diego) is Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 1999, she was named Outstanding Teacher in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and in 2005 she received the Outstanding Researcher Award for the Boulder campus. In 2004, Adler was awarded the Mentor Excellence Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. She has written and taught in the areas of deviance, social psychology, sociology of gender, and the sociology of children. A second edition of her book, WHEELING AND DEALING (Columbia University Pr
"But more than a compendium of personal accounts, The Tender Cut charts self-injury's shift from a behavior regarded as pathological and practiced by demonstrably mentally ill to a more widely accepted coping mechanism and a vehicle for the assertion of will or identity...thought-provoking books sheds a many-rayed light on a topic often shrouded in darkness." Bitch Magazine, October 2011
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