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Book Cover
Author Alexander, Jeffrey C., 1947- author

Title Trauma : a social theory / Jeffrey C. Alexander
Published Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA : Polity, ©2012
Online access available from:
ProQuest Ebook Central (owned titles)    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (vii, 226 [6] pages)
Contents Cultural trauma : a social theory -- Holocaust and trauma : moral universalism in the West -- Holocaust and trauma : moral restriction in Israel (with Shai M. Dromi) -- Mass murder and trauma : Nanjing and the silence of Maoism (with Rui Gao) -- Partition and trauma : repairing India and Pakistan -- Globalization and trauma : the dream of cosmopolitan peace
Summary In this book Jeffrey C. Alexander develops an original social theory of trauma and uses it to carry out a series of empirical investigations into social suffering around the globe. Alexander argues that traumas are not merely psychological but collective experiences, and that trauma work plays a key role in defining the origins and outcomes of critical social conflicts. He outlines a model of trauma-work that relates interests of carrier groups, competing narrative identifications of victim and perpetrator, utopian and dystopian proposals for trauma resolution, the performative power of constructed events, and the distribution of organizational resources. Alexander explores these processes in richly textured case studies of cultural-trauma origins and effects, from the universalism of the Holocaust to the particularism of the Israeli right, from post-colonial battles over the Partition of India and Pakistan to the invisibility of the Rape of Nanjing in Maoist China. In a particularly controversial chapter, Alexander describes the idealizing discourse of globalization as a trauma-response to the Cold War. -- Back cover
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Psychic trauma -- Cross-cultural studies
Psychic trauma -- Social aspects
Crises -- Psychological aspects
Collective memory
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Mass Behavior
Social Identification
Survivors -- psychology
Violence -- psychology
War Crimes -- psychology
PSYCHOLOGY -- Mental Health.
Collective memory.
Crises -- Psychological aspects.
Psychic trauma.
Psychic trauma -- Social aspects.
Psychisches Trauma
Kollektives Gedächtnis
Kulturelle Identität
Soziologische Theorie
Genre/Form Cross-cultural studies.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9780745675947