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McPhillips, K. (2017). “Unbearable Knowledge”: Managing Cultural Trauma at the Royal Commission. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(2):130-146.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(2):130-146

“Unbearable Knowledge”: Managing Cultural Trauma at the Royal Commission

Kathleen McPhillips, Ph.D.

Beginning in 2013, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (referred to as the Royal Commission) bought to public consciousness a history of child sexual exploitation that contradicts dearly held values of the preciousness and innocence of childhood and the trust of public organizations. The Royal Commission has publically validated the trauma that victims have experienced across institutions. It has also identified and raised the issue of a symptomatology of cultural trauma at work in community and public life. Using the work of contemporary trauma theorists and applying it to one hearing held in Victoria in May 2015, this paper suggests that collective trauma can shape cultural identity and influence the quality of communal life.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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