Trauma and the Politics of Fear: Europe at the crossroads

Room 420, Muirhead Tower
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research, Social Sciences
Monday 9th December 2013 (17:00-18:30)
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Leigh-Ann Cragg
Tel: 0121 414 8398

Speaker: Professor Catarina Kinnvall , Professor at the Department of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden


This chapter is concerned with the unfolding of traumas as structural and socio-psychological narratives focused on the bordering of identity and the governing of past, present and future. Proceeding from a Lacanian conception of trauma and fear, the chapter is centered on hegemonic counter narratives, involving the bordering and securitization of Islam and Muslim identity on the one hand and that of Europe and national identity on the other. This European trauma is perceived in terms of Chosen Traumas and Chosen Glories, referring to the mythologization and governing of past events and the evolvement of emotional instrumentality. Through an empirical discussion of a number of recent European events, such as the London bombings and the massacre in Norway, the chapter provides an integrated perspective on trauma and the politics of fear.


Catarina Kinnvall is Professor at the Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden. She is also the former Vice-President of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). Her research interests involve political psychology, migration and security,globalization, religion and nationalism, with a particular focus on South Asia and Europe. For more information on the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security, visit their website.