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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the theory of cultural trauma and contrasts it to the classical notion of trauma by considering the case of political assassination. The idea of cultural trauma was first developed at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. The theory of cultural trauma has evolved into a core research interest and framework under the rubric of cultural sociology. After discussing the main assumptions of classical trauma theory, the article explains what a traumatic occurrence is. It then explores the meaning of cultural trauma by taking into account Neil Smelser’s definition and concludes by articulating the objectives of cultural trauma as a theoretical construct.

Keywords: cultural trauma, trauma, political assassination, cultural sociology, classical trauma theory, traumatic occurrence, Neil Smelser

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