Can we define harm?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7568953.stm

I saw this very interesting piece just now. It provoked me in thought.

putting the instance where the man is suggested to make the teenage boys to do this, aside. Then make a conceptual issue.

Is self-flaggelation harm?

Lets put another case; I remember when I studied criminology; they told us about these various cases where people engage in inflicting physical damage in relationships to express intimacy and sexual expression. Examples like, a couple stabling the male spouse’s testicle skin to a tree; and many others of a similar vein.

What does it mean to say this is harm? Consider the following appeals of relevance:

i. Agency
ii. Ritual
iii. Expression
iv. Self-identification
v. Definitions of harm…

The British sociological association defines harm in various (and surprising) ways; which show that harm is a concept that is very complex; for instance, it is emotionally harmful to reveal facts that a person may not have already known; such that it is inappropriate or problematic to disclose them to a subject.

Harm, is a social concept; as such, it is plastic.

What is the intention behind our putative ascriptions of harm? Why is it acceptable for some to wear an iron maiden; where a man cannot staple his testicles to a tree?

Sinistre*

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