A sociological conceptualization of trauma
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The epistemological difficulties with the model of 'stressful life events' are reviewed and contrasted with the epistemologies of the pioneers of stress research: Cannon, Selye, Durkheim, Freud, Bernard and Dubos. The paper focuses on the question 'What is an event?' as opposed to a fact and on the neo-Humean difficulties of relying upon explanations of events. It is demonstrated that the pioneers of stress research avoided event-explanations and relied instead (sometimes implicitly) on the notion of 'trauma'. A trauma is not just an event. The concept of trauma is linked to the ideas of arrangements and derangements of collective representations in the context of society conceived of as a cybernetic system.
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