Psyche On The Skin by Chaney Sarah
Self-harm is thought by many to be a modern epidemic: a phenomenon of the late twentieth century a symptom of extreme emotional turmoil in young people particularly young women. Yet it was 150 years ago within early asylum psychiatry that self-mutilation was first codified as a category of behaviour and explanations for a variety of self-injurious acts were conceived very differently. Psyche on the Skin charts the secret history of self-harm. The book describes its many forms from sexual self-mutilation and hysterical malingering in the late Victorian period to self-castrating religious sects to self-mutilation and self-destruction in art music and popular culture. Sarah Chaney's refreshing historical approach refutes the notion that self-harm has any universal meaning - that it necessarily says something specific about an individual or group or that it can ever be understood outside the historical and cultural context of a particular era. Drawing on her personal experiences written in an engaging style and containing many powerful images Psyche on the Skin challenges the misconceptions and controversies surrounding self-harm.The book is crucial reading for professionals in the field as well as all those affected by this act.