From Guilt to Shame: Auschwitz and After

From Guilt to Shame: Auschwitz and After

by Ruth Leys
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691143323

ISBN-13: 9780691143323

Pub. Date: 09/28/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Why has shame recently displaced guilt as a dominant emotional reference in the West? After the Holocaust, survivors often reported feeling guilty for living when so many others had died, and in the 1960s psychoanalysts and psychiatrists in the United States helped make survivor guilt a defining feature of the "survivor syndrome." Yet the idea of survivor guilt has

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Overview

Why has shame recently displaced guilt as a dominant emotional reference in the West? After the Holocaust, survivors often reported feeling guilty for living when so many others had died, and in the 1960s psychoanalysts and psychiatrists in the United States helped make survivor guilt a defining feature of the "survivor syndrome." Yet the idea of survivor guilt has always caused trouble, largely because it appears to imply that, by unconsciously identifying with the perpetrator, victims psychically collude with power.

In From Guilt to Shame, Ruth Leys has written the first genealogical-critical study of the vicissitudes of the concept of survivor guilt and the momentous but largely unrecognized significance of guilt's replacement by shame. Ultimately, Leys challenges the theoretical and empirical validity of the shame theory proposed by figures such as Silvan Tomkins, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Giorgio Agamben, demonstrating that while the notion of survivor guilt has depended on an intentionalist framework, shame theorists share a problematic commitment to interpreting the emotions, including shame, in antiintentionalist and materialist terms.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691143323
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2009
Series:
20/21 Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

INTRODUCTION: From Guilt to Shame 1

CHAPTER ONE: Survivor Guilt 17

The Slap 17

She Demanded to Be Killed Herself and Bitten to Death 24

Identification with the Aggressor 32

Survivor Guilt 38

The Dead 47

CHAPTER TWO: Dismantling Survivor Guilt 56

"Radical Nakedness" 56

The Survivor as Witness 61

Dramaturgies of the Self 68

The Subject of Imitation 76

Psychoanalytic Revisions 83

CHAPTER THREE: Image and Trauma 93

Imagery and PTSD 93

Miscellaneous Symptoms 99

Stress Films 106

PTSD and Shame 118

CHAPTER FOUR: Shame Now 123

Shame's Revival 123

Shame and Specularity 126

Shame and the Self 129

Autotelism 133

The Evidence 137

Objectless Emotions 145

The Primacy of Personal Differences 150

Posthistoricism 154

CHAPTER FIVE: The Shame of Auschwitz 157

The Gray Zone 157

"That Match Is Never Over" 162

The Matter of Testimony 165

Shame 170

The Flush 174

Conclusion 180

Appendix 187

Index 193

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