Trauma, Guilt and the Unconscious: Some Theoretical Notes on Violent Subjectivity

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22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws together elements of cultural sociology and theoretical psychoanalysis in order to address the creation and enactment of a particular form of violent subjectivity. Its primary concern is the experience of traumatic events and prolonged periods of insecurity during childhood. The paper argues that the experience of trauma, when set against a particular cultural background, can act to create a subjectivity characterized by a deep commitment to physical violence. The principal original contribution of this paper is to claim that guilt and shame play a crucial role in the creation of this violent subjectivity, and that these affects are, for the most part, unconscious.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-49
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number2_suppl
Early online date1 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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