Trauma and Self

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This remarkable collection of original essays, written by prominent scholars recognized for their achievements in a wide range of disciplines, defines trauma as a disruption in the fragile process of symbolization, or the human capacity to imbue life with meaning by representing the self's immortality. The contributors analyze the multiple meanings and deeper significance of trauma, whether of shell-shocked war veterans or victims of sexual abuse, and they discuss its manifestations, both subtle and obvious, in human behavior and memory. Organized as an honorary volume to Robert Jay Lifton, who identified trauma as the core psychological issue of the postmodern world, this book demonstrates how trauma and other fundamental breaks in human continuity inform psychiatric, historical, religious, literary, political, cultural, and scientific interpretations of the self.

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Editorial Reviews

The Christian Century
Magisterial scholarship . . . haunted anew by the question of the 'use' of the Holy Scriptures, which this work has so imaginatively and thoughtfully posed.
Religious Studies Review
Trauma and Self is . . . an exciting array of responses of Lifton's work and compelling evidence of the creative impact he has had on the work of respected scholars from many fields.
— Merlyn E. Mowrey, Central Michigan University
Journal Of The History Of The Behavioral Sciences
Strozier and Flynn have collected a wide-ranging series of essays that show how the concept of traumatic injury can be found in abundance in almost every facet of human life: intrapersonal, interpersonal, economic, political. This volume is so diverse that most readers will be surprised and challenged by some writers they might not have otherwise encountered.
Martin S. Bergmann
Where most of us preferred to shut our eyes so that we could sleep at night, Robert Lifton set out to investigate . . . These excellent essays illuminate the life and work of this unique man.
Jerome Bruner
These eloquent essays are a fitting tribute to Robert Lifton—a man who has done more that anybody in our times to explore how human beings come to terms with the horrors that contemporary society visits upon them. His studies of the self under traumatic conditions have been a source not only of insight, but of inspiration. A salute to a humane and courageous man!
Guy Undrill
People with an interest in Lifton's work should find something of value here.
Religious Studies Review - Merlyn E. Mowrey
Trauma and Self is . . . an exciting array of responses of Lifton's work and compelling evidence of the creative impact he has had on the work of respected scholars from many fields.
Irvin Yalom
A remarkable collection of essays—wide-ranging, penetrating, provocative, vigorous.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847682294
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/7/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles B. Strozier is Professor of History at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where he is also Co-director of the Center on Violence and Human Survival. Michael Flynn is Lecturer of Psychology at York College, the City University of New York, and Associate Director of the Center on Violence and Human Survival.

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Table of Contents

1 Crime and Memory 3
2 The Adopted Self 19
3 Traumatic Departures: Survival and History in Freud 29
4 The Contextual Self 45
5 Some Reflections on Twentieth-Century Violence and the Soft Apocalypse 59
6 Thought Reform Today 69
7 Facts, Truth, and Social Responsibility: Reflections of a Developmental Scientist 81
8 Robert Jay Lifton and Biology: The Doctor Is In - Knock Twice 95
9 Violence, Selfhood, and the Ambiguities of Truth 99
10 Socialism and Human Nature, Once Again 119
11 Erik Erikson and Robert Lifton: The Pattern of a Relationship 131
12 Melusine as Feminist: Shape-Shifting in Surrealism 151
13 The Protean Woman: Anxiety and Opportunity 159
14 A Quest of Eternal Life 175
15 The Second Scar 185
16 The Japanese Psyche: Myth and Reality 197
17 Symbolic Immortality in Modern Japanese Literature 205
18 Reflections on the Self of Homo Hippocraticus and the Quest for Symbolic Immortality 221
19 Illicit Stories 231
20 Life in Death 245
21 "How Pliant Is Science?" 255
22 Confidentiality: In the College Presidential Search Process and Beyond 267
23 Shame and Public Life 279
Index 287
About the Contributors 299
About the Editors 303
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