Narrating Trauma: On the Impact of Collective Suffering

Narrating Trauma: On the Impact of Collective Suffering

by Ronald Eyerman, Jeffrey C. Alexander, Elizabeth Butler Breese
     
 

ISBN-10: 1594518866

ISBN-13: 9781594518867

Pub. Date: 06/28/2011

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

In case studies that examine wrenching historical and contemporary crises across five continents, cultural sociologists analyze the contingencies of trauma construction and their fateful social impact. How do some events get coded as traumatic and others which seem equally painful and dramatic not? Why do culpable groups often escape being categorized as

Overview

In case studies that examine wrenching historical and contemporary crises across five continents, cultural sociologists analyze the contingencies of trauma construction and their fateful social impact. How do some events get coded as traumatic and others which seem equally painful and dramatic not? Why do culpable groups often escape being categorized as perpetrators? Why are some horrendously injured parties not seen as victims? Why do some trauma constructions lead to moral restitution and justice, while others narrow solidarity and trigger future violence? Expanding the pioneering cultural approach to trauma, contributors from around the world provide answers to these important questions. Because Mao’s trauma narrative gave victim status only to workers, the postwar revolutionary government provided no cultural and emotional space for the Chinese people to process their massive casualties in the war against Japan. Even as the emerging Holocaust narrative enlarged moral sensibilities on a global scale, the Jewish experience in Europe exacerbated Israeli antagonism to Arabs and desensitized them to Palestinian suffering. Because postwar Germans came to see themselves as perpetrators of the Holocaust, the massively destructive Allied fire bombings of German cities could not become a widely experience cultural trauma. Because political polarization in Columbia blocked the possibilities for common narration, kidnapping were framed as private misfortunes rather than public problems. Because Poland’s postwar Communist government controlled framing for the 1940 Katyn Massacre, the mass killing of Polish military officers was told as an anti-Nazi not an anti-Soviet story, and neither individual victims nor the Polish nation could grieve. If Japanese defeat in World War II was framed as moral collapse, why has the nation’s construction of victims, heroes, and perpetrators remained ambiguous and unresolved? How did the Kosovo trauma remain central to Serbian history, providing a powerful rationale for state violence, despite the changing contours and contingencies of Serbian history?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594518867
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
06/28/2011
Series:
The Yale Cultural Sociology Series
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: On Social Suffering and Its Cultural Construction Jeffrey C. Alexander Elizabeth Butler Breese xi

Part 1 National Suffering and World War

1 A Fire That Doesn't Burn? The Allied Bombing of Germany and the Cultural Politics of Trauma Volker Heins Andreas Langenohl 3

2 The Cultural Trauma of a Fallen Nation: Japan, 1945 Akiko Hashimoto 27

3 Revolutionary Trauma and Representation of the War: The Case of China in Mao's Era Rui Gao 53

Part 2 Ethnic Suffering and Civil War

4 The Trauma of Kosovo in Serbian National Narratives Ivana Spasic 81

5 Trauma Construction and Moral Restriction: The Ambiguity of the Holocaust for Israel Jeffrey C. Alexander Shai M. Dromi 107

6 The Drama of the Greek Civil War Trauma Nicolas Demertzis 133

7 1974 and Greek Cypriot Identity: The Division of Cyprus as Cultural Trauma Victor Roudometof Miranda Christou 163

Part 3 The Performance of Suffering and Healing

8 Extending Trauma Across Cultural Divides: On Kidnapping and Solidarity in Colombia Carlo Tognato 191

9 Claiming Trauma through Social Performance: The Case of Waiting for Godot Elizabeth Butler Breese 213

10 The Worst Was the Silence: The Unfinished Drama of the Katyn Massacre Dominik Bartmanski Ron Eyerman 237

11 Unassimilable Otherness: The Reworking of Traumas by Refugees in Contemporary South Africa Ari Sitas 267

About the Contributors 293

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >