Trauma, Memory, and Catharsis

Anthropological Observations on a Folk-Psychological Construct
  • Michael G. Kenny
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 291)


My interest in catharsis and memory derives from previous research on the cultural history of “multiple personality” in America (Kenny, 1986). In its latest clinical incarnation multiplicity finds a place in the DSM-IV under the heading of Dissociative Identity Disorder. The presence of amnesias “too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness” is integral to the diagnosis, while “dissociation” figures large in contemporary theorising about the relation between trauma and forgetting. Powerful dysphoric emotion is believed to create disjunctions between consciousness and memory, even to the point of splitting the self into mutually unaware fragments.


Traumatic Memory Animal Spirit Multiple Personality Dissociative Identity Disorder Holy Ghost 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael G. Kenny
    • 1
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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