What Happens When the Wounded Survive? Ethnicity and the Healing Project

  • Amanda Kearney


This chapter identifies healing and recuperation as relational experiences in the midst of cultural wounding and interethnic conflict. The imperative to heal is treated as a prevailing condition in the face of human suffering. It proclaims itself through powerful articulations of survival, rarely encountered more hauntingly than in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, where the deeply wounded make the realization that “me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow” (Morrison 2004: 273). The pursuit of tomorrow is what motivates much action in the realm of healing and recuperation. I observe, as did Smith in his 1981 work The Ethnic Revival, that the world continues to witness a remarkable efflorescence of ethnic feeling and ethnic movements directed toward the acquisition of greater autonomy, instating of difference, and quests for independence. Exploring the underlying causes of this ethnic revival, Smith (1981) found that ethnic pluralism and dynamic self-image have come to characterize “modern ethnic strategies” around the world. Altogether in sync with the cyclical fluctuations in ethnic ties and sentiments often recognized in ethnic studies, modern ethnic strategies are marked by their quality of self-transformation.


Ethnic Group Ethnic Identity Healing Project Transitional Justice Social Memory 
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© Amanda Kearney 2014

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  • Amanda Kearney

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