Sociology of Knowledge
Degree awarded: Ph.D. Sociology. American University
ABSTRACTThis study examines the United States Army and the bureaucracy involved as they address their most recent increase in suicide. Suicide is not a new problem in the military, but increased numbers have caused significant concern at all levels, which have extended to those outside the military as well. This report is one of Sociology of Knowledge in that I attempted to understand how the United States Army is processing and understanding themselves while addressing an increase in suicide deaths. Utilizing publicly available data to conduct a secondary analysis, this study specifically examined a 2010 report release from the Army which looked at Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention. This study is not a comparison study between the various branches of the armed services; nor does it attempt to explain the "why" associated with the rise in suicide rates. Instead this study looked at how a tightly-integrated formal organization, such as the United States Army, cognitively and bureaucratically developed an understanding of suicide. Theoretical perspectives associated with labeling theory, deviance, as well as race and gender helped to frame this study. These concepts were also used to develop coding practices and conclusions and recommendations based on the Army 2010 Army report. This study was aimed at identifying the effectiveness of findings and interpreting the Army's effort at understanding itself. This study is particularly timely since suicide rates in the Army continue to increase--but conclusive answers to this intolerable trend have yet to be uncovered.
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