The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry Into the Condition of Victimhood

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Princeton University Press, Jul 26, 2009 - Medical - 305 pages

Today we are accustomed to psychiatrists being summoned to scenes of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, war, and other tragic events to care for the psychic trauma of victims--yet it has not always been so. The very idea of psychic trauma came into being only at the end of the nineteenth century and for a long time was treated with suspicion. The Empire of Trauma tells the story of how the traumatic victim became culturally and politically respectable, and how trauma itself became an unassailable moral category.

Basing their analysis on a wide-ranging ethnography, Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman examine the politics of reparation, testimony, and proof made possible by the recognition of trauma. They study the application of psychiatric victimology to victims of the 1995 terrorist bombings in Paris and the 2001 industrial disaster in Toulouse; the involvement of humanitarian psychiatry with both Palestinians and Israelis during the second Intifada; and the application of the psychotraumatology of exile to asylum seekers victimized by persecution and torture.

Revealing how trauma has come to authenticate the suffering of victims, The Empire of Trauma provides critical perspective on some of the moral and political issues at stake in the contemporary world.

 

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Contents

01_FASSIN_INTR
1
03_FASSIN_PRT1
13
04_FASSIN_CH01
25
05_FASSIN_CH02
40
06_FASSIN_CH03
58
07_FASSIN_CH04
77
08_FASSIN_PRT2
99
09_FASSIN_CH05
107
12_FASSIN_CH07
163
13_FASSIN_CH08
189
14_FASSIN_PRT4
217
15_FASSIN_CH09
225
16_FASSIN_CH10
250
17_FASSIN_CONC
275
18_FASSIN_BIBL
285
19_FASSIN_INX1
299

10_FASSIN_CH06
128
11_FASSIN_PRT3
155

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About the author (2009)

Didier Fassin, one of France's leading social anthropologists and a physician in internal medicine, is the James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Richard Rechtman, a psychiatrist and anthropologist, is medical director of the Institut Marcel Rivière in France. Both are members of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute on Social Issues (IRIS).

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