Decolonizing Trauma: Liberation Psychology and Childhood Trauma in Palestine

  • David J MarshallEmail author
  • Cindy Sousa
Living reference work entry
Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 11)


The collective nature of violence requires a reassessment of the prevailing biomedical model of individual trauma that guides conventional psychiatric responses to such events. Perspectives are needed that take into account children’s embeddedness within families, communities, and historical and political narratives. This also means questioning the assumption that children are innocent victims in need of care, as opposed to political actors in their own right, as well as the assumption that children alone are vulnerable to dehumanizing violence. This chapter works through the case of Palestine to highlight emerging interdisciplinary literature about the collective and political nature of trauma and violence. Secondly, this chapter seeks to bring a critical psychology perspective to bear on the extensive literature on child psychology in conflict zones, including Palestine. Drawing from the work of Ignacio Martin-Baro, this chapter adopts a liberation psychology stance in asking what the study of childhood trauma looks like, not just from the perspective of children, but “from the perspective of the oppressed.” By giving attention to the other ways of understanding trauma and doing trauma relief, offered by Palestinian psychologists, community workers, teachers, parents, and young people, this chapter seeks to highlight and build upon nascent attempts at developing postcolonial approaches to children’s geography.


Trauma Political violence Liberation psychology Postcolonial theory Palestine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social ResearchBryn MawrUSA

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