Journal Article

The production of pro-suicide content on the Internet: A counter-discourse activity



Pro-suicide websites are topping search engine result lists, raising fears about the internet's detrimental influence on behaviour and attitudes related to suicide. Based on a qualitative analysis, this article argues that the production of pro-suicide content on the internet should be seen as a counter-discourse, directed against socially dominant perceptions of suicide. On pro-suicide websites, the description of technical, chemical and anatomic details, the expression of honourable and clearly individualistic ideals, the depictions of morbid bodily violence, together with the absence of emotional content could all be said to represent a kind of constructed Western masculinity. Furthermore, because of its potential for identity gain and the acting out of aggressive impulses, it is crucial - although this may seem somewhat paradoxical - to understand the production of the pro-suicide content as a manifestation of what is, for the participants, a meaningful practice.

Show more


  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    New Media and Society, Issue 14.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
  • Language:

About the Author

Michael Westerlund

Fil dr i medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap. Disputerade 2010-06-04 vid Stockholms universitet/JMK på avhandlingen Självmord och Internet: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne. I det pågående forsknings- och implementeringsprojektet Suicide Prev... Read more


Westerlund, M. (2012). The production of pro-suicide content on the Internet: A counter-discourse activity. New Media and Society, (14), pp. 764-780.