Baptiste Brossard

Baptiste Brossard



The Social Conditions of Self-Injury Behavior

I did my PhD dissertation in Paris, at the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) under the supervision of Florence Weber (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris) and Dominique Memmi (CNRS, France). My aim was to build a sociological approach to self-injury behavior in youth, a matter which is traditionally studied by psychologists and psychiatrists. Data is mostly composed of repeated in-depth interviews with adolescents and young adults whom I met in online forums and in mental health services. As a first step, I described how self-injury concretly occurs along individuals' life trajectories, in their everyday life [see my article about it in Symbolic Interaction] and during the self-harming activity itself. I found out that even if self-injury is a socially deviant behavior, people use it as a rational technique for managing their daily life in a seemingly normal way. As a second step, I wondered why certain people, in certain circumstances, use self-injury as a self-control technique? I proposed an answer based on the socialization of interviewees, considering their social positioning issues like social belonging, gender identity, social mobility concerns in their family and so forth. I finally adapted my PhD as a book, which can be read by anyone : Se Blesser soi-même. Une jeunesse autocontrôlé [See the editor website here and presentation videos].