The Spectral of the Repressed: Žižek’s Symptom, Trauma Ontology, and Communist Trauma

: Although Žižek frequently refers to trauma as examples to support his symptomatic reading of ideology and the contemporary world, his works seldom are read within the study of trauma. From my point of view, Žižek’s symptomatic reading of trauma and ideology provides a new perspective to understand trauma, particularly trauma rooted in communist catastrophes. In this paper I suggest that for communist catastrophes per se, the mechanism of symptom of trauma and post-trauma disorder has two dimensions: non-knowledge and knowledge, or act and experience. Symptom is performative, indicating the unassimilated, belatedness, or dissociation of trauma; on the other hand, symptom is also “working-through,” a process in which trauma is subjected to ideological control. Thus, rather than digging out the hidden meaning or truth in PTSD, trauma study should focus on the form of symptom: what this symptom illustrates us about the present, since the nature of trauma is retrospective. We are keeping constructing trauma or post-trauma in its meaning in the present
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