Trauma: Culture, Meaning and Philosophy
Whurr Publishers Ltd
Patrick J. Bracken
Publication Date :
1 Jan 2002
In the past twenty years, there has been a remarkable growth of interest in the area of trauma within the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry. This professional interest both reflects and contributes to a wider cultural concern with trauma. The syndrome of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) lies at the heart of the current discourse on trauma. This book argues that there are serious problems inherent in current conceptualisations of how people react to trauma, and consequently in many of the therapeutic responses that have been developed. The book offers a radical critique of the concept of PTSD and questions the assumptions which underpin the trauma industry that has emerged around it. However, the book is not just about critique. Drawing on anthropology, philosophy and his own clinical experience and that of others, the author presents a very different understanding of the relationships between trauma, meaning and culture. Post traumatic anxiety is presented as a problem with strong social and cultural dimensions and not simply an issue of individual psychopathology. Thus, the reader is equipped with a new framework for helping traumatised individuals and communities. This very different conceptualisation of post traumatic sequelae will challenge therapists, aid and development workers as well as theoretical workers in psychology and psychiatry. Dr. Bracken argues against the medicalisation of distress and for the strengthening of communities and seeks to connect disputes about the framing of trauma with a wider debate about the social control of technology and expertise. This book will also be of interest to philosophers and others wishing to understand the relevance of philosophical analysis to medicine and psychology.