Trauma and Historical Witnessing: Hope for Malabou's New Wounded

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 30 (3):404-413 (2016)

Jennifer Gammage
DePaul University
Catherine Malabou in The New Wounded develops a general theory of trauma by extending her account of destructive plasticity to the realm of post-traumatic stress disorder. “The new wounded,” she claims, “all come together around a single fact: the radical rupture that trauma introduces in the psyche”. This rupture is demonstrated by an affective fissure, which renders traumatized persons emotionally and socially mute, and a temporal fissure, which punctures subjects’ relationships to their pasts, thus tearing them from any sociohistorical context. Malabou’s new wounded are marked by extreme indifference and a new, unrecognizable identity created ex nihilo with total absence at its center; at times she...
Keywords trauma  nachträglichkeit  Freud  witnessing
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