The Aesthetics of Self-Harm presents a new approach to understanding parasuicidal behaviour, based upon an examination of online communities that promote performances of self-harm in the pursuit of an idealised beauty. The book considers how online communities provide a significant level of support for self-harmers and focuses on relevant case studies to establish a new model for the comprehension of the online supportive community.
To do so, Alderton explores discussions of self-harm and disordered eating on social networks. She examines aesthetic trends that contextualise harmful behavior and help people to perform feelings of sadness and vulnerability online. Alderton argues that the traditional understanding of self-violence through medical discourse is important, but that it misses vital elements of human group activity and the motivating forces of visual imagery.
Covering psychiatry and psychology, rhetoric and sociology, this book provides essential reading for psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists exploring group dynamics and ritual, and rhetoricians who are concerned with the communicative powers of images. It should also be of great interest to medical professionals dealing with self-harming patients.