Colloquium Series

Event Date: 

Monday, April 10, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Event Date Details: 


Zoom link

Meeting ID: 821 9364 7939



Event Location: 

  • SSMS 3017

The Social and Cultural Roots of Adolescent Suicide

Seth Abrutyn is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. His work focuses on two interrelated processes: (1) using evolutionary theory, he asks how social environments, particularly their enduring structure and culture, are built up from collective efforts to transform the social world and (2) how these environments can become detrimental to emotional, mental, and social psychological health. He has authored or co‐authored peer‐reviewed articles in forums like American Sociological Review, Sociological Theory, Social Forces, and the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. In addition, he has edited the Handbook of Contemporary Sociological Theory and co‐edited the Handbook of Classical Sociological Theory. Currently, he teaches courses on Sociological Theory, the Sociology of Emotions, and Social Psychology.

The sociology of suicide has largely remained indebted to Durkheim’s focus on the social distribution of suicide via measuring variation in suicide rates. But, this approach has struggled to answer a core question that interests prevention and social scientists alike: why do people choose to die by suicide. Leveraging a novel case study of a small, affluent community with a significant youth suicide problem, this study tries to answer how places can make some denizens vulnerable to negative mental health outcomes and, potentially, suicide. By shifting from population‐level research to meso‐level place‐based studies, the social and cultural roots of suicide are revealed with mplications for future research, new prevention strategies, and sociological theory more generally.