AbstractWhile the high rates of female suicide in rural China have attracted much scholarly attention, previous studies have not addressed the psychological processes by which individual women in rural areas decide to attempt suicide. Based on ethnographic research in Hebei villages, this article examines different types of gendered subjectivity that lead some rural women to make fatal decisions. Suicidal behavior is an important form of female agency that asserts rural women’s moral aspiration for freedom and individual rights, but this form of agency does not highlight their ability to resist. Rather, it points to their powerless positions in the community. From these findings, I argue that neither the concept of resistance nor that of subjection can properly represent the complex realities and inner voices of rural women who attempt suicide.
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