Trauma

Traumatic Experience: Must Reads

Stacks Image 6508
“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.”
Stacks Image 6511
“They didn’t get into the details of real life, the little things,” a troubled U.S. war veteran criticizes a PTSD primer for returning soldiers in Kenneth MacLeish’s ethnography Making War at Fort Hood.  Echoing anthropological critiques, the veteran rejects the idea that his experience can be reduced to psychological nosologies with clearly defined symptoms and etiologies.Ari Gandsman [Read More]
Stacks Image 6514
“A War of Nerves is a history of military psychiatry in the twentieth century—an authoritative, accessible account drawing on a vast range of diaries, interviews, medical papers, and official records, from doctors as well as ordinary soldiers. It reaches back to the moment when the technologies of modern warfare and the disciplines of psychological medicine first confronted each other on the Western Front, and traces their uneasy relationship through the eras of shell-shock, combat fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder. At once absorbing historical narrative and intellectual detective story, A War of Nerves weaves together the literary, medical, and military lore to give us a fascinating history of war neuroses and their treatment, from the World Wars through Vietnam and up to the Gulf War. Ben Shephard answers recurring questions about the effects of war. Why do some men crack and others not? Are the limits of resistance determined by character, heredity, upbringing, ideology, or simple biochemistry? Military psychiatry has long been shrouded in misconception, and haunted by the competing demands of battle and of recovery. Now, for the first time, we have a definitive history of this vital art and science, which illuminates the bumpy efforts to understand the ravages of war on the human mind, and points towards the true lessons to be learned from treating the aftermath of war.”

Stacks Image 6517
“The application of psychiatry to war and terrorism is highly topical and a source of intense media interest.Shell Shock to PTSD explores the central issues involved in maintaining the mental health of the armed forces and treating those who succumb to the intense stress of combat.”Drawing on historical records, recent findings and interviews with veterans and psychiatrists, Edgar Jones and Simon Wessely present a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of military psychiatry. The psychological disorders suffered by servicemen and women from 1900 to the present are discussed and related to contemporary medical priorities and health concerns. This book provides a thought-provoking evaluation of the history and practice of military psychiatry, and places its findings in the context of advancing medical knowledge and the developing technology of warfare. It will be of interest to practicing military psychiatrists and those studying psychiatry, military history, war studies or medical history.”
Stacks Image 6525
“As far back as we know, there have been individuals incapacitated by memories that have filled them with sadness and remorse, fright and horror, or a sense of irreparable loss. Only recently, however, have people tormented with such recollections been diagnosed as suffering from "post-traumatic stress disorder." Here Allan Young traces this malady, particularly as it is suffered by Vietnam veterans, to its beginnings in the emergence of ideas about the unconscious mind and to earlier manifestations of traumatic memory like shell shock or traumatic hysteria. In Young's view, PTSD is not a timeless or universal phenomenon newly discovered. Rather, it is a "harmony of illusions," a cultural product gradually put together by the practices, technologies, and narratives with which it is diagnosed, studied, and treated and by the various interests, institutions, and moral arguments mobilizing these efforts.
This book is part history and part ethnography, and it includes a detailed account of everyday life in the treatment of Vietnam veterans with PTSD. To illustrate his points, Young presents a number of fascinating transcripts of the group therapy and diagnostic sessions that he observed firsthand over a period of two years. Through his comments and the transcripts themselves, the reader becomes familiar with the individual hospital personnel and clients and their struggle to make sense of life after a tragic war. One observes that everyone on the unit is heavily invested in the PTSD diagnosis: boundaries between therapist and patient are as unclear as were the distinctions between victim and victimizer in the jungles of Southeast Asia.”


Journal Articles


De Jong, J. T. (2005). Commentary: Deconstructing critiques on the internationalization of PTSD. Culture, medicine and psychiatry, 29(3), 361-370.
Kienzler, H. (2008). Debating war-trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in an interdisciplinary arena.
Social Science & Medicine, 67(2), 218-227.
Kienzler, H. (2013). Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. EP Finley. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Verhaeghe, P., & Vanheule, S. (2005). Actual neurosis and PTSD: The impact of the other.
Psychoanalytic Psychology, 22(4), 493.
Wool, Z. H. (2013). On Movement: The Matter of US Soldiers’ Being After Combat.
Ethnos, 78(3), 403-433.