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These kinds of decisions will vary by case, but there are some general guidelines.Today I want to write about assumptions we make in our research.The first and probably most important assumption is that suicide is in one way or another linked to mental illness, or, in its radical version, that suicide is necessarily caused by a mental illness.
Marsh convincingly shows the steady encroachment of psychiatric discourses onto suicide.
Indeed, it will probably culminate in pathologising all suicidal behaviour, which has already been announced by the APA.
But as I was writing my ‘homework chapter’, I was also very conscious of creating categories for my informants, which they didn’t necessarily inhabit, at least during the interview.
I was making them into people that ‘we’, academics, consider important.
Or perhaps I should have written about one of my informants as the one who asked whether I masturbated.
The question came out of the blue and I was so taken aback that just about half the interview was gone before I did.These are the ‘little’ demographics ‘one offers’ and, I suppose, it makes some sense, especially in view of both masculinity research, depression research and probably some other.Still, we write these things mostly without giving it another thought, we just follow the practice, I think.Marsh shows the social and political nature of such assumptions.And so, what is quite hotly contested in suicide research is rendered as an obvious and major flaw of the assessed piece of research. I doubt it very much, the critique followed a particular practice of psychological writing in which you simply give certain information, probably also without much reflection.Will the reader have a different definition of X than I do?Will the reader agree that X is important, or do I need to justify my study of X?So here comes the criticism levied from the point of view of clinical psychology.The author of the research did not give two pieces of information: the informants’ medical history and their diagnosis (although it was not explicitly stated, I understood it as the diagnosis pertaining to the F section of the ICD-10).I wish I could simply write it was nonsense, but I am not certain it is – I’ll come to it below.The main problem is of course that the assumptions I refer to above were probably tacit, hidden, given no reflection, we make them daily.