9/11 as a Collective Trauma
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Hans Juergen Wirth, a leading German psychoanalyst and editor of the journal Psychosozial, brings cultural breadth, historical perspective, and analytic astuteness to bear in considering the “collective trauma” of 9/11. His meditation, which brings into its compass the psychic structure of suicide bombers and the psycho-political causes and consequences of the Iraq war, is especially insightful in considering the psychological meaning of 9/11 for the world outside the U.S. In complementary forays into psyche and politics, Wirth explores the relationship of xenophobia and violence; the story of Jewish analysts who emigrated from Nazi Germany to the United States; the idea of man in psychoanalysis; and the family dynamics that sustain the AIDS phobia. These wonderfully illuminating essays, both cautionary and constructive, show how clinical experience with the unconscious processes of violence, traumatization, and destructiveness can be foundational to new political strategies for dealing with collective violence.