Closing a gap in conflict transformation: Understanding collective and transgenerational trauma

TitelClosing a gap in conflict transformation: Understanding collective and transgenerational trauma
Typ der PublikationReport
AutorInnenKönig, U, Reimann, C

If we think of the current fragile contexts and protracted violent conflicts, one feature is very striking: We are often confronted by vicious circles of never-ending structural, direct and cultural violence. A huge part of humanity is exposed to violence, which is creating its own
system with a normative strength that is overtaking and influencing political, economic or
cultural systems. The current international discussion on religious and political extremism
and radicalisation also reflects to varying degrees that traditional” (international) tools of
analysis and strategizing fall short of capturing the complex dimensions of individual and
collective violence.

One lens which adds a new perspective to the multiple factors that inform individual and
collective violent behaviour is the one of collective trauma. Traditional (international) context
and conflict analysis and strategies for development cooperation, migration work and conflict
transformation ignore to a great extent collective trauma as key driving dynamics of for
violence and the protractedness of conflicts. We believe that large parts of society are
affected by both, collective and individual trauma, and a better understanding the connection
between trauma and violence is necessary in the future.

This paper explains how the lens of collective trauma broadens our understanding and
analysis of protracted and intractable violent conflicts, fragile contexts and vulnerable
societies and enriches strategies for conflict transformation, migration work and
development: All strategies applied by international organizations in these three fields benefit from becoming (more) responsive to collective trauma.