European Trauma: Governance and the Psychological Moment
AbstractThis article examines the unfolding of traumas as structural and sociopsychological narratives focused on the bordering of identity and the governing of past present and future. Proceeding from a Lacanian conception of trauma and a Foucauldian understanding of governmentality, the analysis is centered on hegemonic counternarratives, even crises, involving the bordering of both Islam/Muslim identity and Europe/national identity. This “European trauma,” or psychological moment, is exemplified through events in London 2005 and Norway 2011. It is perceived in terms of Chosen Traumas and Chosen Glories, the mythologization of past events that are retold, reinvented, and awarded new meanings in the present. Such traumas and glories can create a foundation for governing practices in which hegemonic interpretations of identity turn into normalizing narratives that justify violence. However, the governing of narratives is a contested process and alternative narrative understandings in terms of everyday practices can stimulate social resistance and psychological resilience, eventually challenging the normalizing bordering processes encountered in Europe today.