Mimetic vs Anti-Mimetic Theories of Trauma

 Radstone writes that Something else gets lost, too, in trauma theory’s retreat from the significance of unconscious process of memory formation and revision.  And emphasis on the centrality of unconscious process to all aspects of psychical life has the effect of reminding readers and analysts of two important aspects of that life.  First, a fundamental…

The Sciences, Humanities, and Autobiography

There’s a huge tension between the sciences and the humanities as to what “counts” as knowledge, while the social sciences appear to draw from and contribute to both.  (yes, this is an extreme simplification – each individual discipline within the sciences, social sciences, and humanities will have its own connections and locations within the pantheon…

Ella L. James et al. – “Computer Game Play Reduces Intrusive Memories of Experimental Trauma via Reconsolidation-Update Mechanisms”

James, Ella L., et al.  “Computer Game Play Reduces Intrusive Memories of Experimental Trauma via Reconsolidation-Update Mechanisms.”  Pychologicall Science (2015): 1-15.  Sage.  Web.  21 July 2015. Yes – Tetris can apparently help with symptoms of trauma by interrupting visual recall of traumatic events, thus helped avert recurring memories.  But this also may tie in with Ruth…

Trauma and Standpoint: Inflicting Hierarchy via Mimesis

Leys describes the memetic and antimimetic aspects of trauma to be one of the sticking points of most theories of trauma.  Past psychoanalysts found that their patients would imitate hypnotic suggestion, indicating that the memories might be implanted (citation) – the survivors of abuse also appeared to adopt the perspectives over their abusers (citation). This is…

Pathology: Normative Bifurcation

In medicine, pathology is the study of disease processes.  Pathologists identify cancer cells, and pathologists determine cause of death.  It’s a very important specialty.  But the pathological turn can also be misused to impose normative standards, leading to artificial bifurcations in the assessment of lived experience. This type of phenomenon would be like the extreme…

Pathology: the Account of Suffered Experience

From Wikipedia article on pathology: Pathology (from the Ancient Greek roots of pathos (πάθος), meaning “experience” or “suffering”, and -logia (-λογία), “an account of”) is a significant component of the causal study of disease and a major field in modern medicine and diagnosis. In my reading, I’m finding this trend where scholars pathologize the attitudes…

Pathology: Hypnosis and Trauma

Ruth Leys focuses heavily on psychoanalysts of the past century-plus in order to illustrate how our societal conceptions of trauma have shifted over time.  Yet so much of what these researchers theorized about trauma was heavily dependent upon their individual beliefs regarding the efficacy of hypnosis.  And this, to me, seems terribly limiting (at least…

You can’t write what you can’t remember

Leys (and others) indicate that the inability to remember (amnesia/dissociation) is one of the key components of trauma.  But are there degrees of amnesia?  Do people have difficulty remembering not only the traumatic, but the uncomfortable? There is an optimistic bent to memory – the “good old times” never really were that great.  Perhaps the…

Mimetic vs Antimimetic Theories of Trauma

Ruth Leys describes the how the mimetic paradigms of trauma that arose from the hypnosis tradition of Freud and others reveal the internal dissociation of the traumatized subject.  Survivors were found to repeat the external cues from researchers, and it was hypothesized that the severity of trauma led to a kind of forced forgetting, that…

Cultural Relativism in Trauma

Trauma is a highly individual concept. Whatever your life story, you have certain conceptions about what “counts” as “awful enough” to merit sympathy or pity as opposed to disdain. One goal reform pedagogy or “progressive” traditions would be to expose students to a wider scope of human experience, to help them better relate to experiences outside…