Ferenczi as social trauma thinker*

Abstract

In the 21st century, the notion of trauma is so commonly used that one can speak of a culture of trauma. Today, a wide variety of people claim victimhood, pointing to their traumas as validation. Fassin and Rechtman denounce the way in which recognition strategies make use of the identity of victim to justify compensation policies and financial reparations. This paper presents Sándor Ferenczi’s contributions on trauma, showing how his theory takes into consideration relational and political aspects that were underemphasized by Freud. When Ferenczi is compared to contemporary recognition thinkers (such as Honneth, Fraser and Butler), one can see that what is at stake in his theory is neither identity nor victimization. It is deeper: Ferenczi shows the importance of the vulnerable dimension in all of us, suggesting that recognizing mutual vulnerability is a basis of the sense of connectedness and solidarity with the other.

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Correspondence to Jô Gondar.

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Address correspondence to Prof. Jô Gondar, Rua General Cristóvâo Barcelos 24 ap. 701, CEP 22245-110, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Gondar, J. Ferenczi as social trauma thinker*. Am J Psychoanal 78, 412–420 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-018-9165-2

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Keywords

  • culture of trauma
  • disavowal
  • victimization
  • recognition
  • mutual vulnerability
  • Ferenczi