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Goren, E. (2007). Society's Use of the Hero following a National Trauma. Am. J. Psychoanal., 67(1):37-52.

(2007). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 67(1):37-52

Society's Use of the Hero following a National Trauma

Elizabeth Goren, Ph.D.

The terrorist nature of the attacks on September 11th, the number of deaths on American soil and the direct involvement of society as virtual eyewitnesses of the events of that day had a traumatizing impact on the cultural consciousness. The interpersonal, socio-cultural manifestations of traumatic grief are explored through an analysis of the creation and transformation of its national heroes, the New York City firefighters, in the public mind overtime. Mechanisms of identification, dissociation and splitting were manifested through the erection of physical and social boundaries around 9/11, which allowed for idealization at a safe distance followed by de-cathexis when the collective sought to abort the mourning process and overcome the pain and helplessness of traumatic grief by going to war.

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