No Such Thing as Society? A Critique of Hegemonic Notions of Trauma in the Research on Cultural Production


  • Felix Lang Arabic und Social Anthropology (Philipps-Universität Marburg)



Cultural Trauma, Literature, Film, Arab World, Trauma Studies


The notion of trauma is widely used in contemporary research on literature, film, music, and other forms of cultural production in the Arab world. Building on a tradition of trauma studies in the humanities, much of this work is predicated on an essentialist, naturalized notion of trauma as developed in the seminal work of the literary scholar Cathy Caruth, among others. In this article I suggest that such a notion of trauma is problematic as it depoliticizes human suffering and marginalizes non-hegemonic ways of dealing with experiences of violence. In order to address these problems, I propose to turn to social constructivist approaches to trauma.


Felix Lang, Arabic und Social Anthropology (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

holds a PhD in Arabic Literature and Culture from the University of Marburg. He is a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of Arabic Literature and Culture at the University of Marburg, coordinator of the Figures of Thought | Turning Points research group (DFG-Leibniz), and author of The Lebanese Post-Civil War Novel: Memory, Trauma, and Capital.





Lang, F. „No Such Thing As Society? A Critique of Hegemonic Notions of Trauma in the Research on Cultural Production“. Middle East - Topics &Amp; Arguments, Bd. 11, November 2018, S. 154-8, doi:10.17192/meta.2018.11.7790.