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Realizing Nonviolent Resilience

Neoliberalism, Societal Trauma, and Marginalized Voice

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Edited By Jeremy A. Rinker and Jerry T. Lawler

Current neoliberal social and economic realities have had enormous impacts on the abilities of oppressed groups and marginalized communities to realize resistance and innate resiliencies. How does the ubiquity of neoliberal economic forces exacerbate traumatized populations’ helplessness, and, thereby, influence their inability to grapple with their oppressors and engage in fruitful change solutions? This edited volume asks how nonviolent conflict practitioners might intervene to ‘treat’ traumatized, and often marginalized, populations suspended in the predicament of ‘acting in’ and ‘acting out’ their collective traumas. Treating trauma is an integral aspect of successful peacebuilding work. This work aims to explore the role of trauma in peacebuilding and illuminate the ways that neoliberal marginalization impacts trauma-informed peace work.

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Chapter Two: Toward Best Practices in Trauma-Informed Peacebuilding: Systematizing Interventions in Protracted Social Conflicts (Jeremy A. Rinker and Jerry T. Lawler)

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Toward Best Practices in Trauma-Informed Peacebuilding: Systematizing Interventions in Protracted Social Conflicts

JEREMY A. RINKER AND JERRY T. LAWLER

“For economic shock therapy to be applied without restraint some sort of additional major collective trauma has always been required, one that either temporarily suspended democratic practices or blocked them entirely” (Klein, 2007, p. 11).

“However torturous the trauma process, it can allow collectivities to define new forms of moral responsibility and to redirect the course of political action” (Alexander, 2012, p.30).

In an earlier article (Rinker & Lawler, 2018), the authors asserted the primacy of collective trauma in the escalation and perpetuation of what Edward Azar (1984) called protracted social conflicts (PSCs). Trauma experienced by an entire society so distorts immediate perception of the Other,1 that efforts to facilitate peaceful encounters between diverse groups get sidetracked almost before they begin. The current chapter builds on the former article by aiming to address two complex lines of inquiry: First, how does the ubiquity of neoliberal economic ←47 | 48→forces exacerbate traumatized populations’ helplessness and, thereby, influence their inability to grapple with their oppressors and engage in fruitful change solutions? Second, how might nonviolent conflict practitioners intervene to “treat” traumatized, and often marginalized, populations in this predicament? We believe treating trauma is an integral aspect of successful peacebuilding work. The earlier article offered a diagnosis but not a treatment plan. The current chapter explores how practitioners might use a trauma-informed peacebuilding framework to...

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