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This paper explores the usage of suicide statistics and the emergence of suicidology in nineteenth-century Scandinavia and Finland. Drawing upon texts from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark—with a focus on Swedish language sources—it illustrates the significance that suicide statistics gained during this period, and pays attention to the question of how the Scandinavian discussion on suicide was linked to ideas from outside the geographic area. Taking the cross-references between the selected texts as a starting point, this short foray into early suicidology commences in Finland and works its way westwards.
The discussed works provide a multi-faceted perspective on the issue of suicide statistics in nineteenth century Scandinavia. The paper confirms the influence of central European personalities and ideas on the discussion in the Nordic countries, but at the same time shows that Scandinavian scholars presented unique and novel works, and thus were actively participating and contributing to the emerging pan-European debate on suicide.