<i>Urug.</i> An Anthropological Investigation on Suicide in Palawan, Philippines
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This paper aims firstly at documenting a unique phenomenon that has been observed and analyzed over a period of 20 years, namely the consistently high occurrence of suicide among a small population of tribal inhabitants of Southern Palawan, Philippines. After a brief sketch of the cultural and social setting of the study, anthropological studies on suicide among tribal and nonindustrial people are reviewed and a quick overview of suicide in Southeast Asia is provided. Aggregate figures are then examined with a view of providing a general outline of voluntary death in Kulbi, Palawan. The yearly rate, one of the highest in the world (as high as 173 per 100,000) is established. Factors that are computed include age, sex, method, and motives. Indigenous concepts concerning personhood, morality, the emotional life, and eschatology are examined next and a sketch of the native conceptual framework is drawn, so as to locate the indigenous view of suicide within this framework. In conclusion, the central problem of the study is restated, namely to understand the overall rate of suicide for a population whose culture does not essentially differ from non-suicide prone neighbors. Several complementary hypotheses are suggested, combining socialization, genetically defined predisposition and "wave hypothesis."
- Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 40(4), 419-443, 2003
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University