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A Sociology of Trauma : Violence and Self Identity

Snyder, Justin Allen
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Snyder, Justin Allen
Kumar, Kristen
Olick, Jeffrey Keith
Davis, Joe
This project relates the experience of violence to self-identity. It involves a systematic content analysis of memoirs published on rape, terrorism, genocide, and war. The content analysis provided a complex typology of traumatic stressors that is general to the instances of violence considered. The typology is a style of formal sociology comparable to what has been termed social pattern analysis (Zerubavel 2007). The identified stressors are as follows: the symbolic and cognitive expansion of violence, the loss of self-propriety during violent physical exchanges, the frustration of mundane choices and routines, and the blurring of moral and cognitive boundaries. A theoretical description was fit to the empirical findings. The typology illustrates that more happens in the process of violence than just direct physical harm. I employ the concepts of reflexivity and authenticity to describe the traumatic meaning of these events. Reflexivity and authenticity are two interrelated concepts used to capture aspects of contemporary Western self-identity. During violence, reflexivity and authenticity appear impossible; the stressors undermine an individual's basic confidence in his or her self-concept. As a consequence, individuals experience a comprehensive mortification of the self Symptoms of posttraumatic disorder (PTSD) result from this experience of severe humiliation. Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.
University of Virginia, Department of Sociology, PHD, 2009
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Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015. Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:33:58.
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