Conclusion: Ron Eyerman and the Study of Cultural Trauma
In the conclusion, Eric Woods reflects on Eyerman’s unique contributions to the development of cultural trauma theory as a research paradigm. In so doing, Woods pays special attention to Eyerman’s position within the burgeoning field, particularly with regard to the spectrum that ranges from “realist” or “naturalistic” interpretations of this phenomenon (Neal) to interpretations that are more “constructivist” (Alexander and Smelser). Eyerman’s middle position is staked out by his claim that cultural trauma cannot be fabricated out of simply any and every occurrence. Rather, it is possible only in the aftermath of events that are so extreme in their degree of violence (e.g., political assassinations, systematic human bondage, mass murder, war) that they naturally lead to massive levels of negative affect throughout a given society. Only in the wake of such catastrophic events can cultural traumas then be constructed.
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