Publication details [#59454]

Silvén Hagström, Anneli. 2014. “The self-murderer from Orminge”: A bereaved daughter’s remonstrance to “rescue” her Self through a performed memoir of revolt. Narrative Inquiry 24 (2) : 218–238.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Moral discourses, which operate to create difference among people, construct and reconstruct a “suicide stigma” whereby the suicide-bereaved are stigmatized in their social contexts and thus prevented from communicating their experience of loss. Departing from a performance-based pragmatic approach, this article uses Bamberg’s (1997) positioning theory to analyze a young woman’s performed memoir as her way of resisting this stigmatizing position. Following her mother’s suicide, the daughter-narrator breaks the silence, renegotiates meaning and claims her normalcy — and that of people like her. The audience members, who partake in the emotional and relational aspects of her grief, are positioned as witnesses. They represent society and “the moral court of law”, and are endowed with the power to liberate the narrator from her guilt. This article showcases how the narrative format of a performative memoir can enable a process of de-stigmatization and in addition work to empower and help normalize the stigmatized experiences of others.