Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Life After Death: Suicide, Care, and Responsibility

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posted on 2021-12-09, 11:40 authored by Loffhagen, Tom

This thesis focuses on suicide bereavement, particularly of those parents who have lost children to suicide while in care of the state. I argue that, for these parents, action taken following the suicide of their children is an extension of the care that was given throughout their child’s lives. For parents of those suffering with mental health issues, care is fraught with confusion and tension. This is no more apparent than when they and their children are seeking professional care. Care is inextricably linked with responsibility, which as I will show, is a very important concept in understanding suicide prevention. Governance of regimes of care shapes bereavement through biopolitical responsibilisation. The conflict found within understandings of care lays the foundation for the conflated tensions that arise in suicide bereaved parents’ search for recognition and accountability of and for their child’s suicide. In this thesis I explore these actions to understand the motives and desires of these parents. In exploring these, meaning becomes a useful analytical lens, for meaning, care, and the projects that my participants undertake in search of answers were all intimately linked. Through understanding the actions of bereaved parents as an extension of the care for their children we can understand how these actions are shaped by the governance and regimes of care within New Zealand.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Trundle, Catherine; Bennett, Caroline