Självmord och Internet: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne

Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne


With suicide still a taboo subject in contemporary society, websites and discussion forums on the Internet have become an important and controversial source of information. Through the Internet, the distinction between personal, intimate communication and public communication has blurred, which also has consequences for how the question of suicide is addressed in society.The aim of this dissertation is to examine how the subject of suicide is communicated, represented and addressed in the global and increasingly dominant communication platform of the Internet. Central to this purpose is the analysis and investigation of the discourses about suicide which are constructed and reconstructed by actors on the Internet, and how these discourses relate to each other and to the overarching social and socio-cultural context.The dissertation’s analyses are based on three Internet materials: (1) Google searches of the terms självmord and suicide; (2) Websites with a pronounced pro-suicide or suicide prevention content; (3) Discussion on Internet forums where suicide is the main topic.One of the central aspects that this dissertation points to is the struggle that plays out on the Internet between two distinct approaches to suicide, which feed into completely incompatible understandings and valuations of humanity and society. The dominant suicide preventative discourse takes the position that suicide is such a threatening and destructive act for society as a whole that it cannot solely be handled by the individual. Representatives of the pro-suicide discourse support the opposite view, in which suicide is considered an acceptable way for the individual to ‘solve’ major problems in their lives. Through the Internet’s expansion, actors supporting both views have found new ways of formulating their messages and reaching out to different audiences.

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    Doctoral Thesis (peer reviewed)
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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. (2010). Självmord och Internet: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne. Diss. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet.