Trauma

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					Trauma


   & Globalization
   1.   Trauma theories abbreviated
   2.   Trauma and Representation
   3.   Trauma and Media Representation ( 八卦化
        doom to boom)
Outline

   Definitions of Trauma & Review: trauma and
    identity
   First Responses
   How is trauma related to globalization?
       Trauma and Modernity
       Trauma and History
   Historical Representation
    Trauma: Definitions and Issues
     Definitions:
      a bodily wound 外傷, 損傷)
      a wound, a breach on the mind 精神創傷;

     Whose?
      victims‘ & surviving witnesses‘;
      all of us because of the split in our psyche, or
       the im/possibility of to know and understand (a
       past event, or history as a whole)
    Trauma: Definitions and Issues (2)
    Responses

    1. Survivor‘s first responses of shock, absorption
        of shock, sense of confusion, fragmentation,
        dissociation or loss

    2. Later responses: Neurotic symptoms (e.g.
        nightmares) or identity re-construction; acting-
        out or working-through
    Trauma: Definitions and Issues (3)
    Representation: delayed appearance; twofold
     disjunction
    1. Between experience and testimony: of Witness –
        reliability of memory and memory work. (no
        ―witness‖; chap 12 202, or partial experience)
        ―Witness can only be accessible to the extent that it
        is not fully perceived or experienced as it occurs‖
        (Wolfreys 304).

    2. Between representation and understanding: of
        Reader – an ‗obligation to recognize another‘s
        experience as irreducibly other and irreducible to
        generalizations‖ (Wolfreys 304)

     Mediation (film, news, ritual, donations…)
Trauma and Identity
   How and why are the following characters
    traumatized? How do they
    understand/respond to their trauma? Do they
    ―get over‖ their traumatic symptoms?
       Briony, Cecilia, Robbie In Atonement
       Naomi from Obasan (grandmother and mother
        next time)
       Emmett from In Country
       Cameron from The Stunt Man
       We???
The Viewers/Readers‘ Perspectives

    Four main positions in viewing trauma films
     (Kaplan pp. 9-10)

1.   the position of being introduced to trauma in
     a film which ends with a comforting ‗cure.‘
     (e.g. disaster films, Vietnam war films such
     as In Country.)
2.   The position of being vicariously traumatized;
     (e.g. Videodrome, The Fly by David
     Cronenberg, Cube)
The Viewers/Readers‘ Perspectives (2)
   The position of a voyeur –of films and TV programs
    which turn others traumas into spectacles.

   The position of a absent witness. (Being there and
    not there; aware of the distance.) ―This position of
    ‗witness‘ may open up a space of transformation of
    the viewer through the empathic identification
    without vicarious traumatization. . . . It is the
    unusual, anti-narrative process of the narration that
    is itself transformative in inviting the viewer to be at
    once emotionally there . . . but also to keep a
    cognitive distance and awareness denied to victim
    by the traumatic process.‖ (e.g. next time --
    Hiroshima mon amour, Lingchi)
The Viewers/Readers‘ Perspectives (3)

Questions:
 What is the connection between the 四川、
  Haiti earthquakes, the flood and Mustard
  Seed Children‘s Home?
 Is sympathy possible?
 Is being a sympathetic witness enough?
 Reading can involve action; critical reading
  is critical practice (with a purpose to change)
First EMOTIONAL Responses
1) Lack of control                 textbook chap 11 p. 4

– A. Loss of ―volume control‖ —modulating the level of
    arousal.)
       shock and disbelief; fear and/or anxiety; grief, disorientation,
        denial
       hyper-alertness or hypervigilance (驚弓之鳥) (e.g. fear of fire in
        ―Summer Flower‖)
       irritability, restlessness, outbursts of anger or rage
       emotional swings -- like crying and then laughing
   B. Learned Helplessness (p. 3) feelings of helplessness,
    panic, feeling out of control  give up trying (e.g. stay put)
   C. Thinking under Stress -- worrying or ruminating --
    intrusive thoughts of the trauma  Action not Thought
    (oversimplified decision; poor judgment)

                                                           source
First ‖Physical‖ Responses –

PHYSICAL REACTIONS – or symptoms
       aches and pains like headaches, backaches, stomach
        aches
       sudden sweating and/or heart palpitations (fluttering)
       changes in sleep patterns, appetite, interest in sex
       constipation or diarrhea
       more susceptible to colds and illnesses
   easily startled by noises or unexpected touch (the
    fight-or-flight reaction)
   increased use of alcohol or drugs and/or overeating
    (lack of volume control)


                                                  source
EMOTIONAL REACTIONS
(2) Fragmentation
   A. of the past -- Remembering under Stress –
    speechlessness; non-verbal selective memories p. 5
    (egret, cat, teapot) ‖amnesia‖ flashbacks -- feeling like
    the trauma is happening now
     Nightmares   paranoia of Cameron, The Stunt Man

   B. Isolation; loss of contact tendency to isolate
    oneself (e.g. Emmet, In Country)
   feelings of detachment
   concern over burdening others with problems
   difficulty trusting and/or feelings of betrayal
   difficulty concentrating or remembering
   feelings of self-blame and/or survivor guilt
   shame
   diminished interest in everyday activities or depression
                                                     source
EMOTIONAL REACTIONS
(2) Fragmentation
   Dissociation (p. 7): ―disruption of the usu.
    integrated functions of consciousness, memory
    identity, or perception of environment.‖ 
    fragmentation of identity.  Naomi Obasan




                                     source
EMOTIONAL REACTIONS
(3) Pessimism or Escapism
Pessimism: loss of a sense of order or fairness in the world;
  expectation of doom and fear of the future
Escapism and/or rationalization
 minimizing the experience (first experience of numbness
   mechanism of denial (否認機制, disavowal)
    numbness; emotional numbing or restricted range of feelings

    return, delayed experience;

   (social denial e.g. Hollywood‘s reconstruction of the

     Rambo myth; consumption of disaster 災區一日遊)
 attempts to avoid anything associated with trauma

 increased need to control everyday experiences



                                                   source
 Post-Traumatic Syndrome –
 Acting-Out of Trauma   textbook chap 11 pp. 9-10


    Denial
    or addiction p. 9 (self-mutilation, violence, drug)
         --―addicted to their own internal endorphins‖ –feeling ‗calm
         only when they are under stress.‘
        -- death drive
        -- alteration in the opioid system (narcotic? 鴉片系統).
    Traumatic Reenactment (repetition compulsion)
     acting out, repeating the action without knowing it.
    Trauma-Bonding (staying with an abusive husband)
      Working-Through of Trauma
Endorphin: a chemical naturally released in the brain to reduce pain, and which in large
amounts can make you feel relaxed and/or energetic.
Trauma and Modernity
   WWI: a war on the mind; WWII: a war in the
    mind (194)
   3 stories: Freud‘s, Benjamin‘s (~1940) and
    Woolf (~1941)
        Freud: a Jewish‘s person‘s (or everyone‘s)
        identity is founded on trauma (of patricide, or
        Oedipus complex)  war vet‘s repetition
        compulsion (trauma is the ―alien‖ in one‘s self)
       Benjamin: the shock of Modernity actively
        comprehended thru‘ fragments (after-image p.
        272)
Trauma and History
   3 stories: Freud‘s, Benjamin‘s (~1940) and
    Woolf (~1941)
      Woolf: personal traumas of death and sexual
      abuse  ―scene-making‖ in ―A Sketch of the Past‖
      (1939~) (note: Blitz as a factor of her suicide)
    Many of the scenes Woolf remembers, she writes,
      ―brought with them a peculiar horror and a
      physical collapse; they seemed dominant; myself
      passive.‖ (199)
    Experience that cannot be comprehended.
Trauma and History
       delayed appearance (or belated impact): a wound
        that cries out; that tells us a reality which cannot
        be otherwise known.
       Tasso‘s story of Tancred and Clorinda (textbook chap
        12: 203; chap 13)
       Tancred kills Clorinda when she is disguised as an
       enemy knight.
      After her burial he goes into a magic forest and slashes a
       tall tree with his sword.
      The blood streams from the cut and the voice of Clorinda
       is heard complaining that he has wounded his beloved
       again.
    Cathy Caruth: ―The voice of his beloved bears witness to the
       past he has unwittingly repeated.‖ (trauma as double)
    The story of trauma—the story of belated experience
Examples of Collective/Cultural Trauma

   Wars  Genocide: e.g. Holocaust (the systematic
    state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men,
    women, and children and millions of others by Nazi
    Germany and its collaborators during World War II.
    The Germans called this ―the final solution to the
    Jewish question.‖)
    Migration (e.g. partition in India; migration to
    Taiwan)
   Natural Disasters (earthquake, typhoon, hurricane;
    virus and transmittable diseases (AIDS, SARS,
    Ebola) technology breakdown & accidents (plane
    crash, blackout).
How is trauma related to globalization?
A Summary
    (post-)Modernity itself can be shocking. 
     traumatizing or numbing
    Many historical traumas (e.g. Holocaust; Vietnam
     War; 911) have to do with colonial powers and
     their racial/cultural oppression and resistance to it.
    Anti-Globalization (corporate-driven globalization;
     resistance to U.S. government, to the West, to
     ‗McWorld‘) in the form of ―terrorism‖;
    News broadcast bring traumas for our ―daily
     consumption‖
    Economic crises and some natural disasters –
     interconnected
    Foxconn – 11 suicide jumps
Works Cited

   Wolfreys, Julian, ed. Introducing Criticism at the 21st Century.
    Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2002.
   E. Ann Kaplan and Ban Wang. ―From Traumatic Paralysis to
    the Force Field of Modernity.‖ Trauma and cinema: Cross-
    Curltural Explorations. Eds. E. Ann Kaplan and Ban
    Wang.Hong Kong UP, 2004.

				
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posted:12/2/2011
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