By Roger Luckhurst
During this booklet, Roger Luckhurst either introduces and advances the fields of cultural reminiscence and trauma reports, tracing the ways that rules of trauma became an important point in modern Western conceptions of the self.
The Trauma Question outlines the origins of the idea that of trauma throughout psychiatric, felony and cultural-political resources from the 1860s to the coining of Post-Traumatic pressure affliction in 1980. It extra explores the character and quantity of ‘trauma culture’ from 1980 to the current, drawing upon a number of cultural practices from literature, memoirs and confessional journalism via to images and movie. The research covers a various variety of cultural works, together with writers corresponding to Toni Morrison, Stephen King and W. G. Sebald, artists Tracey Emin, Christian Boltanski and Tracey Moffatt, and film-makers David Lynch and Atom Egoyan.
The Trauma Question bargains an important and interesting breakthrough for these looking a better knowing of the arguable and ever-expanding box of trauma study.
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Additional info for The Trauma Question
The genealogy of a concept 23 Erichsen’s organic basis appealed to simple mechanical cause and effect and gained popular and professional currency, but it was also subject to critique. The most sustained attack was by Herbert Page, who regarded Erichsen’s evidence as ‘lamentable’ and despaired that ‘“concussion of the spine” is used almost indiscriminately both in and outside the medical profession’ (Page 1883: 74). Page pointed to studies of post-mortem pathology that could present no evidence in support of organic lesions.
Traumatic stressors are said to produce long-term behavioural transformation, including loss of impulse control, violent over-reactions, forms of dissociation or other amnesiac states. Each of these has been the basis of defences that post-traumatic stress undermines intent, the legal requirement of mens rea for any criminal act (for the English context see Adshead and Mezey 1997). PTSD thus fuses, in English law, with the McNaughton rules on insanity, or claims for diminished responsibility as a result of suffering a recognized ‘abnormality of mind’.
Authorities in the field have recognized that ‘a continuous history would be impossible to establish’, since historicism puts into question ‘the idea of a single, uniform, transhistorically valid concept of psychological trauma’ (Micale and Lerner 2001: 24, 25). For Judith Herman, the history of trauma is itself traumatized, being singularly marked by ‘episodic amnesia’: ‘Periods of active investigation have alternated with periods of oblivion. Repeatedly in the past century, similar lines of inquiry have been taken up and abruptly abandoned, only to be rediscovered later’ (Herman 1994: 7).
The Trauma Question by Roger Luckhurst