The Politics of Trauma Studies: What Can We Learn From Women Combatants' Experiences of Traumatic Events in Conflict Zones?

TitleThe Politics of Trauma Studies: What Can We Learn From Women Combatants' Experiences of Traumatic Events in Conflict Zones?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDaphnah-Tekoah, Shir, and Ayelet Harel-Shalev
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume38
Issue6
Start Page943
Pagination943-957
Date Published09/2016
Abstract

Wars, combat, and political developments triggered the study of trauma. Knowledge about trauma initially emerged from the experiences of men combatants in the battlefield. At a later stage, the study of trauma focused on women and children subject to violence and abuse. The current research suggests that additional aspects of trauma can be understood through the study of competent women exposed to traumatic events and not merely as victims of war or abuse. The study offers an analysis of women combatants' narratives of their exposure to traumatic events in conflict zones. Data were obtained from two focus groups and a series of 30 personal interviews of women veterans who served in the IDF. Interviewing women combat soldiers revealed a variety of narratives of their war experiences, including the intertwining of the emotional and the physical. The window to understanding the trauma was opened by analysis of the responses of the women combatants to potentially traumatic events rather than by focusing on post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) per se. We emphasize the need for a critical perspective in the study of trauma and combat trauma and propose that there is value in engaging with and listening to diverse narratives of trauma.

[ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]

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