G2SI: General Self Injury Books

Cover of "Bodies under Siege: Self-mutila...

Cover via Amazon

I have here only included books I actually own. There are many books on self injury, and I will add more as and when.

Links on the book title take you to Amazon UK where, if you buy the book, I will receive a small sum.

“The Language of Injury: Comprehending Self-Mutilation” Gloria Babiker & Lois Arnold (Leicester: BPS Books, 1997) This book covers the historical context of self harm, social issues (gender, class, sexuality), the origins of self injury (childhood, life and so on) and ideas for working with and therapy for self injurers. This book seems to be considerably more expensive now than when I bought it.

“Bodies Under Siege: Self-mutilation and Body Modification in Culture and Psychiatry” Armando R Favazza (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2nd Ed. 1996) The first major book on self injury, this covers aspects such as religious and cultural meanings behind self injuring around the world, accounts of major self injury, and an understanding of self injury as a healing process.

“A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain” Marilee Strong (London: Virago Press, 1998) An investigative account by a journalist into the phenomenon of self injury, with a foreword by Favazza.

“Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation” Steven Levenkron (New York: W W Norton & Company Inc, 1999) An account by a psychiatrist of the treatment he used on his patients. I recall this being unpopular with self injurers, back in the day.


“Mutilating the Body: Identity in Blood and Ink” Kim Hewitt (Bowling Green: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1997) Covers mutilation both from self injury and from tattooing/body modification, looking at identity and use as adornment among other topics.

“Writing on the Body? Thinking Through Gendered Embodiment and Marked Flesh” Kay Inckle (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007) Covers research on embodiment, blood, pain and gender – a feminist critique of the sociology of the body, looking at both body modification and self injury. This, too, seems to have become considerably more expensive than it was.

“In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification” Victoria Pitts (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) Looks at body politics, feminism, and queer theory and how they relate to body modification. Interesting although not directly relevant to self injury.

If you know of other books you would like to recommend, please do – either in the comment form below or by emailing believersbrain[at]yahoo.co.uk

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