The concept of psycho-trauma has gained widespread currency in poststructuralist literary theory. Yet what might be sign of hope for a more interdisciplinary approach to psycho-trauma on closer inspection turns out to be ambiguous, according Harald Weilnböck. Literary theory, he writes, often distorts what psycho-trauma means in clinical terms and, while gaining interdisciplinary cachet, repeats patterns of self-protection and transference. In the third and final instalment of this long essay, the author draws some troubling conclusions from Dr Goodheart’s excusrsus into poststructuralist trauma theory. Could it be that the poststructuralist interest in ensuring that “the trauma remains inaccessible to memory” is affiliated to institutional structures of power, control, and exclusion?
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Europe is the exception to the global de-secularization of politics; at the same time, theoretical interest in theological issues has been rising in Europe over the past fifteen years. Placing Habermas’s “soft naturalism” against the “militant atheism” of Michel Onfray and Richard Dawkins, and borrowing Diderot’s concept of matérialisme enchanté, Sven-Eric Liedman warns against trivializing life’s wonders, be they of a technical nature or beyond our present conception.
The concept of psycho-trauma has gained widespread currency in literary theory in recent years. Yet what might be sign of hope for a more interdisciplinary approach to psycho-trauma on closer inspection turns out to be ambiguous, according Harald Weilnböck. Literary theory, he writes, often distorts what psycho-trauma means in clinical terms and, while gaining interdisciplinary cachet, repeats patterns of self-protection and transference. In part two of this long essay, the fictional Dr Goodheart is confronted with an example of “trauma-therapy bashing” that makes him suspect that the humanities’ take on trauma is actually more than just innocuous nonsense: perhaps it’s even harmful.
Rowan Williams and the Sharia controversy
When Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, suggested that the British public consider “some accommodation” to Islamic law, and that such an accommodation ultimately was “unavoidable”, the response was one of outrage. Yet in most cases, Williams’s words were wildly misinterpreted, writes Stephen Jones. When even the most progressive writers about Islam do not denounce the concept of Sharia, would it not be more productive to ask how a symbol that stands for all that is good comes to be used to justify oppression? Could it be that unwillingness to countenance references to the Sharia betrays a reluctance to examine the ethical and moral bases of legal norms in the West?
As the British tax and customs office loses 25 million confidential records in the post, the programme to introduce a centralized National Health Service database slouches on, only delayed by a classically wasteful Private Finance Initiative project. Total data transparency may be good for corporations and security obsessed governments, but what does it mean for the recipients of “joined-up care”?, asks Damian Abbott.
The concept of psycho-trauma has gained widespread currency in literary theory in recent years. Yet what might be sign of hope for a more interdisciplinary approach to psycho-trauma on closer inspection turns out to be ambiguous, according Harald Weilnböck. Literary theory, he writes, often distorts what psycho-trauma means in clinical terms and, while gaining interdisciplinary cachet, repeats patterns of self-protection and transference. In the first instalment of this long and thought-provoking essay, the fictional Dr Goodheart puzzles over Manfred Weinberg’s assertion that “trauma must remain inaccessible to memory”. Such statements contradict Dr Goodheart’s clinical experience that enabling patients to access their memory is essential to successful therapy. Reading Elisabeth Bronfen’s essay on Hitchcock’s Marnie, Dr Goodheart’s consternation grows. Bronfen, he suspects, romanticises psycho-trauma in order to provoke the given gender order and, in linking trauma with pleasure, implicitly licences the acting out of destructive patterns of interaction.
Europe and the Middle East
An arms race in the Middle East would affect European security to an unimaginable degree, says Joschka Fischer. By drawing on its positive experience in conflict resolution, Europe can play a major role in averting such a development. But does it have the instruments and institutions to do so? Given the urgency of the situation in Middle East, can Europeans afford the luxury of being against Europe?
Today’s generation of middle class Indians are discarding the secular-humanist version of Hinduism that appealed to an earlier generation of elites and opting for a more overt religiosity. Meera Nanda asks what lies behind the Hinduisation of the Indian public sphere.
Ray Lawrence’s film “Jindabyne”, an adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver, addresses sexual politics and latent racism embedded in contemporary Australian culture, writes Will Brady.
Ronald Reagan’s ability to get working men to vote for policies that were clearly not in their interests casts a long shadow over US politics post 9/11. The crisis of American masculinity is targeted not only by advertising but also by politics. In the US presidential race, winning the masculinity battle will be crucial, writes Katrine Kielos.
An interview with Maurice Bloch
“It may well be that anthropology departments disappear, and that wouldn’t bother me very much”. “Anti-anthropologist” Maurice Bloch talks in interview about the abuse of anthropological expertise by developmental ecologists; about the contradictions of “collective memory”; and about whether anthropology can address life’s “big questions”.
Alternative publishing in the Turkish context
There are magazines that mirror the cultural environment and those that open up new channels of expression – “canonizing” and “talking” magazines respectively. In the Turkish context, journals emerging from a leftist tradition and located outside academia create connections between the intelligentsia and the public, writes Süreyyya Evren. The development of the young anarchist journal “Siyahi” demonstrates how “talking magazines” can move beyond their niche audience to reach a broad readerships.
The extent of a person’s freedom is determined by the status of their passport. For people who live outside the EU’s charmed circle, travelling not only earns them the distrust of the country they wish to leave, but also of the country they wish to enter, writes Nelly Bekus-Goncharova.
The position of printmaking within the contemporary visual arts has shifted a long way. Once grouped with what was known as “the applied arts”, a category which includes ceramics, craft-based woodwork, and jewellery, the hegemony of painting and sculpture as the sole claimants to the term “fine art” is at last being broken.