This essay proposes to recover the political site of suicide that has been displaced by a reflexive turn of sociology since the 1980s. Considering Giddens' social theory to be an example of such displacement, we argue that his early analysis of suicide is a vanishing mediator of his late discourses on society and modernity. Giddens coined a unique type called attempted suicide to invert Durkheim's typology before forging a secret link between suicide and agency. In so doing, Giddens' own recursive construction of society transferred to the reflexive regulation of modernity, thus tacitly admitting that routine structures have been destabilized into runaway systems. When Giddens advanced his life politics of intimacy and climate change, suicidal agency even became a strategy of survival. In conclusion, although taking modernity to the reflexive limit of individualization, Giddens did not break with the philosophical reasoning of the subject and the sociological reality of the social.
Sociology and Anthropology, Vol.5, No.4, pp.311-322