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Viñar, M.N. (2005). The specificity of torture as trauma: The human wilderness when words fail. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(2):311-333.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(2):311-333

The specificity of torture as trauma: The human wilderness when words fail

Marcelo N. Viñar

The author attempts to situate the specificity of torture—understood as the product of political violence and of totalitarian states—within the historical framework of the concept of trauma in psychoanalysis. When the mind and social ties are simultaneously affected, the intrapsychic and transpersonal aspects of the suffered damage intertwine in a complex and unique web. The author aims to dismantle the notion of victim, considering it both stigmatizing and inaccurate. The goal is not just to identify the after-effects and the disabilities suffered by those affected by torture, but also to integrate their experiences and their narratives into a life project. Rather than individual psychopathology, this essay reflects upon those phenomena of suggestion and hypnosis that are at work in human groups under ordinary conditions and that are exacerbated under social crises, following the Freudian axis developed in Group psychology and the analysis of the ego.

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