Journal article

The politics of 'whataboutery': The problem of trauma trumping the political in conflictual societies

Adrian Little, Juliet Brough Rogers

The British Journal of Politics and International Relations | SAGE Publications | Published : 2017


Trauma demands a melancholic orientation to the past, a wish to recover what is lost. In conflicts located in long histories of political difference, a focus on the traumas acquired through the violences of the past is crucial, but this focus may do more than inform the politics of the present. The risk is that the symptoms of the trauma become the symptoms of policy. The political environment that emerges lacks the maturity to understand the ordinary emotions of politics and this further limits the possibility of creative political horizons. In short, in the interests of placating trauma survivors and sometimes in the interests of ensuring no issue gets left behind, politics can be trumped ..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council Discovery Grant

Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: the article was supported by the an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP130101399).