Traumatization of consciousness as a new form of political violence

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This article is a review of the book by Zh.T. Toshchenko The Society of Trauma: Between Evolution and Revolution (Theoretical and Empirical Analysis) (Мoscow: “Ves Mir”; 2020). In recent years, a new type of political violence has developed - traumatization of consciousness, which is especially typical for ‘the society of trauma’. The book by Toshchenko examines the challenges that the world and Russia face due to the complex changes in public consciousness, which are mostly of a man-made character. Previously the research focused on the relatively individual questions such as ‘pathological agency’ (P. Sztompka) or construction of the politically biased meanings that traumatized the public consciousness (J. Alexander), while Toshchenko defines the issue much broader - dysfunctional changes of the whole society - and studies its transformations through the realities of ‘the society of trauma’, the features of which can be seen in different countries that entered the path of a long, turbulent, unstable and unsustainable development. In the societies of trauma, there are no clear worldview ideas, which leads to gaps and paradoxes in the public consciousness and to the loss of life guidelines. Political pressure on the public consciousness is exerted through ‘soft power’ based on demagogy about democracy, freedom and human rights. Toshchenko sees the way out of the society of trauma and the way for overcoming the ideological and political anomie in the development of civil activity and the strategic goal and means to achieve it. The book allows to identify further research topics, in particular, the study of new mechanisms for traumatizing the public consciousness, which would help to search for the transition of our society to the humanistic development trend.

About the authors

A. I. Podberezkin

Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Author for correspondence.
Prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, Moscow, Russia, 119454

A. V. Zhukov

Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, Moscow, Russia, 119454


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Copyright (c) 2020 Podberezkin A.I., Zhukov A.V.

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