Trauma theory: Contexts, Politics, Ethics

Radstone, Susannah (2007) ‘Trauma theory: Contexts, Politics, Ethics’, Paragraph, 30(1), pp. 9-29.

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This article discusses the current ‘popularity’ of trauma research in the Humanities and examines the ethics and politics of trauma theory, as exemplified in the writings of Caruth and Felman and Laub.Written from a position informed by Laplanchian and object relations psychoanalytic theory, it begins by examining and offering a critique of trauma theory’s model of subjectivity, and its relations with theories of referentiality and representation, history and testimony. Next, it proposes that although trauma theory’s subject matter—the sufferings of others—makes critique difficult, the theory’s politics, its exclusions and inclusions, and its unconscious drives and desires are as deserving of attention as those of any other theory. Arguing that the political and cultural contexts within which this theory has risen to prominence have remained largely unexamined, the article concludes by proposing that trauma theory needs to act as a brake against rather than as a vehicle for cultural and political Manicheanism.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: Radstone, S. (2007) ‘Trauma theory: Contexts, Politics, Ethics’, Paragraph 30 (1) 9-29..
Divisions: Schools > Arts and Digital Industries, School of
Depositing User: Mr Stephen Grace
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2010 08:35
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2012 11:59

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