- The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology
- Introduction: Cultural Sociology Today
- Cultural Sociology as Research Program: Post-Positivism, Meaning, and Causality
- Rationalization Processes inside Cultural Sociology
- Four Ways to Measure Culture: Social Science, Hermeneutics, and the Cultural Turn
- Culture and the Economy
- Culture and Economic Life
- From Moral Sentiments to Civic Engagement: Sociological Analysis as Responsible Spectatorship
- Reinventing the Concept of Civic Culture
- Cultural Sociology and Civil Society in a World of Flows: Recapturing Ambiguity, Hybridity, and the Political
- Mediatized Disasters in the Global Age: On the Ritualization of Catastrophe
- Media, Intellectuals, the Public Sphere, and the Story of Barack Obama in 2008
- Entertainment Media and the Aesthetic Public Sphere
- Rethinking the Relationship of African American Men to the Street
- Ethnicity, Race, Nationhood, Foreignness, and Many Other Things: Prolegomena to a Cultural Sociology of Difference-Based Interactions
- Burning Schools/Building Bridges: Ethnographical Touchdowns in the Civil Sphere
- The Constitution of Religious Political Violence: Institution, Culture, and Power
- Globalization and Religion
- Narrative and Social Movements
- The Politics of Authenticity: Civic Individualism and the Cultural Roots of Gay Normalization
- Rethinking Conflict and Collective Memory: The Case of Nanking
- Cultural Trauma: Emotion and Narration
- Remembrance of Things Past: Cultural Trauma, the “Nanking Massacre,” and Chinese Identity
- Events as Templates of Possibility: An Analytic Typology of Political Facts
- Cultural Pragmatics and the Structure and Flow of Democratic Politics
- Consumption as Cultural Interpretation: Taste, Performativity, and Navigating the Forest of Objects
- The Force of Embodiment: Violence and Altruism in Cultures of Practice
- Music Sociology in a New Key
- Narrating Global Warming
- Broadening Cultural Sociology's Scope: Meaning-Making in Mundane Organizational Life
- Inbetweenness and Ambivalence
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the theory of cultural trauma from a cultural sociological perspective by using the case of the Nanking Massacre and its implications for Chinese identity. It begins with an overview of the Nanking Massacre and its initial constructions, focusing on the shift from Western concern to Western silence about the mass murder from a cultural standpoint. It then considers why the Nanking Massacre disappeared from the consciousness of the Chinese, arguing that the event was not narrated as a collective trauma, and the opportunities to extend psychological identification and moral universalism were not taken up, due to the paradoxes of solidarity, boundary-making, and collective identity. It also discusses social revolution and communism as Chinese responses to trauma and concludes with a commentary on the proliferation of articles and reports concerning the Nanking Massacre.
Rui Gao completed her PhD in Sociology at Yale University in 2011. She got her M.A and M.Phil degree in sociology from Yale University, her B.A. degree in English and English Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University and she has also been studying and doing research at the University of Tokyo. Her fields of interests include cultural sociology, sociological theories, media studies, critical communication studies, gender studies, feminist studies, China studies, etc. Her latest publications include a forthcoming article titled “Revolutionary Trauma and Representation of the War: the Case of China in Mao's Era,”(in Narrating Trauma edited by Ron Eyerman, Jeffrey Alexander, and Elizabeth Breese, Paradigm Publishers) and translation works that focus on fields of journalism and mass communication.
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, works in the areas of theory, culture and politics, developing a meaning-centered approach to the tensions and possibilities of modern social life. He is a Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology, also at Yale. His recent publications include: Understanding the Holocaust: A Debate (2009); A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition (with Kenneth Thompson 2008); Social Performances: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual (with Bernhard Giesen and Jason Mast 2006); Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity (with Eyerman, Giesen, Sztompka, and Smelser 2004); and The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology (2003). In his major work The Civil Sphere (2006), Alexander developed a new cultural-sociological theory of democracy, a perspective that provides the foundation The Performance of Politics: Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power (2010) and his newest volume, Performative Revolution in Egypt: An Essay in Cultural Power (2011).
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