Culture, Suicide, and the Human Condition; Helsinki

CULTURE, SUICIDE, AND THE HUMAN CONDITION

Interdisciplinary symposium
Helsinki 14-16 February 2008

Venues: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Fabianinkatu 24,
University Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33


PLEASE NOTE: preliminary registration for the symposium is necessary. For registrations, please contact Mette Sundblad:
mette.sundblad (a) helsinki.fi.


PROGRAMME

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Plenary session at University of Helsinki Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33,
lecture hall 12:

10:00 – 10:15 Opening: Juha Sihvola (Helsinki)
10:15 – 11:45 María Cátedra (Madrid): When it is Worth the Trouble to Die –
The Cultural Valuation of Suicide
11:45 – 13:30 Lunch break

Afternoon session at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Fabianinkatu
24, seminar room 136:
13:30 – 16:15 ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL PERSPECTIVES
13:30 – 14:45 Miira Tuominen and Malin Grahn (Helsinki): Self-killing in
Antiquity – An Act of Courage or an Act of Folly?
14:45 – 15 Coffee
15:00 – 16:15 Virpi Mäkinen (Helsinki): Right to Life and Death in the Late
Medieval and Early Modern Moral Philosophy

18-  Rector’s Reception


Friday, February 15, 2008

Plenary session at University of Helsinki Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33,
lecture hall XIII:
10:15 – 11:45 Charles MacDonald (CNRS): Constructing the Suicide’s Identity
11:45 –13:30 Lunch break

Afternoon session at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Fabianinkatu
24, seminar room 136:
13:30 – 17 CONTEMPORARY CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES I: PSYCHIATRY AND
PSYCHOANALYSIS
13:30 – 15 Plenary session
Hasse Karlsson (Helsinki): Title to be announced
15 - 15:15 Coffee
15:15 - 16:30 Petri Meronen: The idea of Suicide in Psychoanalysis


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Plenary session at University of Helsinki Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33,
lecture hall XIII:
10:15 – 11:45 Fei Wu (Beijing): “Excluded suicide” – Death, Illness, and
Stigma in Rural China
11:45 – 13:30 Lunch break

Afternoon session at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Fabianinkatu
24, seminar room 136:
13:30 – 16:15 CONTEMPORARY CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES II
13:30 – 14:45 Marja-Liisa Honkasalo (Helsinki): Autonomy, Responsibility,
and Suicide in Finnish Contexts
14:45-15:00 Coffee
15:00-16:15 Susanne Dahlgren (Helsinki): Islam and Suicide
16:15 – 17:30 CLOSING DISCUSSION


Organizing committee:
Docent Marja-Liisa Honkasalo (person in charge), University of Helsinki
Professor Vilma Hänninen, University of Kuopio
MD Petri Meronen, psychoanalyst, The Therapeia Foundation
PhD Miira Tuominen, University of Helsinki

Organizers: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of
Helsinki,
Department of Sociology, University of Kuopio Department of Social
Sciences,
Therapeia foundation

For further information please contact:
marja-liisa.honkasalo (a) helsinki.fi.


About the plenarists:

María Cátedra is Professor of social anthropology at the Universidad
Complutense de Madrid. She holds her PhD at Universidad Complutense and has done fieldwork among the Vaqueiros in Spain. Her most well known
publication about cultural aspects on suicide "This World, Other Worlds. Sickness, Death, and the Afterlife among the Vaqueiros" is published by University of Chicago Press 1992. Currently, Professor Cátedra works with urban anthropology, and especially about symbolic aspects on ancient cities.

Charles J-H Macdonald is a French anthropologist working in Southeast Asia.
He holds a Ph. D and a Doctorat d’Etat from the Sorbonne and has done
extensive periods of fieldwork in the Philippines (mostly in Palawan
island) and South Central Vietnam among the Raglai. He is a senior research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and is
attached to the University of Aix-Marseille II (“Université de la Méditerranée”). He has in recent years published several books and articles on the topics of suicide, Christianization in Asia, and naming practices. The most recent book “Uncultural Behavior” is about suicide in Palawan, and is published by University of Hawaii Press 2006. Prior to that he has extensively published on Palawan and Raglai ethnography, on mythology, social structure, religion and rituals, kinship, and various other topics.

Fei Wu is a Chinese anthropologist working at the University of Beijing. He
holds a PhD from University of Harvard, entitled “The Elegy for Luck
-Suicide in a County of North China”. He has conducted a long fieldwork in
a rural China where the incidence of young women’s suicide has been very
high. Chinese ideas about suicide are based on Chinese concepts of personhood and life, which are very different from Western ones. In Chinese tradition,
life is seen as a process between birth and death, and a person is understood as one who can spend this life. People commit suicide when focusing on an idea in this process. It is not seen as abnormal, but as a defective way to
pursue happiness and good luck. Typical suicide is not a result of mental
abnormality.