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Academic Freedom. The Global Challenge
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Landscapes of Disease - Malaria in Modern Greece
Katerina Gardikas

Nationalism and Terror - Ante Pavelić and Ustasha Terrorism from Fascism to the Cold War
Pino Adriano and Giorgio Cingolani





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The Indescribable and the Undiscussable
Reconstructing Human Discourse after Trauma

Dan Bar-On,
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva

People--laymen and practitioners alike--face serious difficulties in making sense of each other's feelings, behavior, and discourse in everyday life and after traumatic experiences. Acknowledging and working through these difficulties is the subject of this extremely interesting and highly readable book.

After a critical look at the psychological and philosophical literature, Dan Bar-On identifies two groups of impediments. First, the indescribable, as it appears when individuals try to understand and integrate their first heart attack into their previous life-experience, when a group of pathfinders talk about their different maps of the mind and nature, or when a team of welfare practitioners tries to develop a common approach to their regional population. Second, the undiscussable, as it appears in the transmission, from generation to generation, of the traumatic experiences of the families of both Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators, the book showing how their descendants can work through the burden of the past by confronting themselves and each other through a prolonged group encounter.

This book provides a unique way of looking at life experiences, individual as well as inter-personal. It proposes a new psychological theoretical framework in a way to which both laymen and professionals can relate while confronting similar issues in their everyday experiences and discourse.

The book is of especial relevance to present-day Central and East European societies, relating as it does to the problems of psychological adaptation arising from the transition from totalitarian to democratic regimes.

"I was put in mind in reading this amazing book by Dan Bar-on of a truly great painting, one that can make you cry while also puzzling you and demanding from you every ounce of wisdom even to begin to understand. Bar-On is never hesitant to re-examine (and have others critique) his own interpretations. By making his own reflections vulnerable to criticism and revision he sheds light on how his "subjects" did or did not accomplish the same and thereby may teach the willing reader this most important of skills". - Amazon (from a reader's review)

"The first chapter of Bar-on's book in itself makes the book worth reading. This is the story of three Israeli soldiers and a Bedouin partner finding their way in an uncharted desert terrain, each with a different strategy. The story and its analysis is a stunning and amazingly explicit example of different perspectives, how each of the individuals learn to understand and appreciate one another, and most of all to recognize when each view is most useful depending on the situation. I highly recommend the book if only for this one chapter--there's nothing like it". - Amazon (from a reader's review)

Contents

Introduction. Part 1: Indescribable: 'soft' impediments to discourse - Multiple representations, Subjective theories of cardiac patients, Negotiating attributions, Feeling-facts Interlude: Pure and impure ideologies Part 2: Severe impediments to discourse - Silenced facts from victimizer's perspective, silenced facts from the victims' perspective, My father and I, psychological learning from experience Epilogue. References

1998
310 pages
ISBN 978-963-9116-34-4 cloth $49.95 / €42.95 / £29.95
ISBN 978-963-9116-33-7 paperback $22.95 / €19.95 / £14.95

 

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