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Unraveling Farmer Suicides in IndiaEgoism and Masculinity in Peasant Life$
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Nilotpal Kumar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199466856

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466856.001.0001

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Manam and Avamanam

Manam and Avamanam

Masculinity, Suicide, and Social Meanings

(p.225) 6 Manam and Avamanam
Unraveling Farmer Suicides in India

Nilotpal Kumar

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with broader category of rural suicide in Anantapur villages. Departing from the Durkheimian positivism, the analysis adopts a cultural perspective on suicide to suggest that suicidal behaviours amongst Anantapur farmers relate to normative evaluations about losing a honourific self in everyday life. Such evaluations are articulated within the local institution of ‘hegemonic masculinity’—paurusham. Suicidal actions amongst men, which can be dramatically aggressive or depressive, seem to be aimed at both escaping from a state of lost social honour and shaming/punishing someone. Conflicts in intimate social relations often contextualize these motives. Besides connecting aggression and stress in key social relations with suicide, I also reiterate the suggestion—made in Chapters 3 and 4—that the scope for experiencing dishonour, which is contingent on claims of honour (manam) and its social acknowledgment, has expanded due to new claims for honour in a changing economic and cultural environment.

Keywords:   rural suicide, culture and suicide, self, masculinity, aggression, depression, stress, emotion, honour, shame

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