What is the article "The Violent Origins of Psychiatric Trauma: Frantz Fanon's Theory of Colonial Trauma and Catherine Malabou's Concept of the New Wounded" about?

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In "The Violent Origins of Psychic Trauma: Franz Fanon's Theory of Colonial Trauma and Catharine Malabou's Concept of the New Wounded," Sujaya Dhanvantari links Fanon's theory's of trauma in Madagascar and Northern Africa in the 1940s to trauma today as described by Malabou. Dhanvantari asserts that in both cases, trauma...

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In "The Violent Origins of Psychic Trauma: Franz Fanon's Theory of Colonial Trauma and Catharine Malabou's Concept of the New Wounded," Sujaya Dhanvantari links Fanon's theory's of trauma in Madagascar and Northern Africa in the 1940s to trauma today as described by Malabou. Dhanvantari asserts that in both cases, trauma is severed from its true cause, pathologizing colonized or marginalized groups rather than the larger systems of oppression that create the traumas. In simpler words, trauma should not be blamed on something inherently "wrong" in marginalized groups, such as Black Africans or Syrians. The trauma is created outside these groups by colonial and economic forces that inflict harm. The perpetrators of trauma must be rightly identified and resisted.

To add more detail to this summary, in section 1, Dhanvantari discusses Mannoni's 1950 work "The Psychology of Colonization," which refused to see the Madagascan revolt of 1947 as based on anything other that the pathologies of the Madagascan natives and their innate feelings of inferiority. In section 2, Dhanvantari examines Fanon's critique of Mannoni in Black Skins, White Masks, in which Fanon argues that the extreme violence of colonization and the severing of native peoples from their history led to Madagascan trauma. The Madagascans, says Fanon, were robbed of their history by colonial violence and taught by Europeans to feel inferior. Their traumas were inflicted by outsider violence.

In part 3, Dhanvantari ties Fanon's theory of the political and economic basis of trauma as a result of colonialism to current theories of trauma by Malabou. Malabou, like Fanon, links trauma to politics. Today, it is not colonialism per se that creates trauma as it was in the 1940s, but systems of globalization that lead to war, displacement, and economic distress caused by debt. These are not "accidents" that come out of nowhere for no reason, but the result of deliberate policies by groups such as the IMF and the World Bank that favor wealthier nations. Further, the way the world economy is structured is not "natural" but socially constructed and thus changeable. Thus, Malabou and Dhanvantari see the solution to the problem of contemporary trauma in naming the institutions that are the cause of the problems and calling for radical political and economic change.

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