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Kijak, M. Pelento, M.L. (1986). Mourning in Certain Situations of Social Catastrophe. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 13:463-471.

(1986). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 13:463-471

Mourning in Certain Situations of Social Catastrophe

Moises Kijak and Maria Lucila Pelento


One of the characteristics of social catastrophes is the murder of a large number of people, after they have been abducted and tortured, in an atmosphere of pervasive persecution. We have described the specific characteristics

of the mourning processes in the victims' relatives and their impact on society as a whole.

As the bereaved cannot resort to those behaviours and rituals, elaborated in the course of centuries, which make it possible to work the mourning through, and as both the body and the necessary social containment are missing, these mourning processes have characteristics that are very different from those of the normal or pathological ones usually described in the literature. We have dealt with the psychodynamics and the symptoms and signs frequently observed in them and studied the implications of such situations for the bereaved, both children and adults, and some of the difficulties inherent in their psychoanalytic treatment.

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