Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity

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University of California Press, Mar 22, 2004 - Social Science - 304 pages
In this collaboratively authored work, five distinguished sociologists develop an ambitious theoretical model of "cultural trauma"—and on this basis build a new understanding of how social groups interact with emotion to create new and binding understandings of social responsibility. Looking at the "meaning making process" as an open-ended social dialogue in which strikingly different social narratives vie for influence, they outline a strongly constructivist approach to trauma and apply this theoretical model in a series of extensive case studies, including the Nazi Holocaust, slavery in the United States, and September 11, 2001.
 

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Contents

Toward a Theory of Cultural Trauma
Psychological Trauma and Cultural Trauma
25
Cultural Trauma Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity
54
The Trauma of Perpetrators The Holocaust as the Traumatic Reference of German National Identity
106
The Trauma of Social Change A Case of Postcommunist Societies
149
On the Social Construction of Moral Universals The Holocaust from War Crime to Trauma Drama
190
September 11 2001 as Cultural Trauma
258
Bibliography
277
Index
293
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Page 5 - Trauma is not locatable in the simple violent or original event in an individual's past, but rather in the way its very unassimilated nature — the way it was precisely not known in the first instance — returns to haunt the survivor later on.

About the author (2004)

Jeffrey C. Alexander is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology Department at Yale University, the author of The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology (2003), and the editor of Real Civil Societies (1998). Ron Eyerman is the author of Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity (2001). Bernhard Giesen is the author of Intellectuals and the Nation: Collective Identity in a German Axial Age (1997). Neil J. Smelser is the author of The Social Aspects of Psychoanalysis (California, 1998). Piotr Sztompka is the author of Trust: A Sociological Theory (1999).

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