Kollektive Traumata – Annäherungen an eine sozialpsychologische Diagnose mit Blick auf den 11. September
Recently the concept of psychological trauma has been used for after-effects of violence not only in the individual but also in collectives. As there is no elaborated theory of collective trauma, the article discusses a psychological approach: starting from individual traumatic processes (e. g., latency, complex feelings of guilt) the interaction between trauma and society is emphasized. Some typical features of trauma can be found as „trauma-analogous processes“ on a societal level. Due to the difference between individual and collective, these processes certainly function differently, e. g., according to conflicting interests of victims, bystanders, and perpetrators.
September 11 is taken as an example, showing the benefit of the approach in understanding some collective phenomena such as the obvious misunderstandings between Americans and Europeans in the aftermath of the catastrophe. In conclusion the author calls for a cautious use of the concept and suggests further effort toward an interdisciplinary theory of collective trauma.