A sociological conceptualization of trauma. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Soc Sci Med

author list (cited authors)

  • Mestrovi, S. G.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Mestrović, SG

publication date

  • January 1985