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Title: Hungry, Angry Ghosts: A Construction of Female Suicide in Traditional China
Contributor(s): McKay, Kathryn  (author)
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: Suicide has long been constructed as a monstrous death within many societies. Its very existence challenges the social norms the majority of people presume to be acceptable; it leaves behind people questioning the reasons behind the choice. In this way, those who choose suicide have also been branded monsters - the most common of which is the belief that ghosts can arise from these deaths. Traditional Chinese stories of female suicide-related ghosts seemed to follow a distinct narrative trope involving rational, heroic men and irrational, villainous women. The ways in which stories of hungry ghosts were told speaks to the ways in which female suicide was understood and rationalised within traditional Chinese society. It also provides a demonstration of suicide prevention based within supernatural encounters. While the seriousness in which these stories were held is uncertain, they remain a colourful and potent source of suicide story-telling. By seeking to understand this mythology, we also begin to better understand the stigma and stereotypes that continue to attach to female suicide in modern rural China.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Monsters and the Monstrous, 2(1), p. 41-46
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1756-770X
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 111712 Health Promotion
160805 Social Change
160804 Rural Sociology
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 420603 Health promotion
441004 Social change
441003 Rural sociology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920506 Rural Health
920507 Womens Health
920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200508 Rural and remote area health
200509 Women's and maternal health
200407 Health status (incl. wellbeing)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Rural Medicine

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