ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNTS OF ISRAELI HOLOCAUST DESCENDANT RESILIENT-VULNERABILITY: Moral-Political Worldviews and the Emergence of Empowering Distress

Carol A. Kidron, Dan M. Kotliar, Laurence J. Kirmayer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Despite the upsurge of research and public interest in the etiology and lived experience of trauma survivor and descendant resilience, much of the scholarship continues to present a reductionist binary reading of resilience and vulnerability often perceived as signifying wellness and distress. Ethnographic interviews with Jewish-Israeli Holocaust descendants explore the phenomenological experience of transmitted trauma legacies and their self-perceived sense of vulnerability and resilience. Descendants’ accounts disclose culturally particular configurations of emotional vulnerability and strength. Describing transmitted emotional wounds as “scratches” and as a “badge of honor”, intergenerationally transmitted effects of parental trauma are normalized and valorized. Findings disclose the way culturally grounded spiritual and moral-political worldviews mediate descendant perceptions of the empowering meaning of their emotional wounds. Descendants also link memories of silent parent-child embodied interaction with individual and collective moral meaning, pointing to potentially distressing parent-child interactions as both risk and resilience factors. Results illustrate the ways that resilience and vulnerability interact, qualifying each other in the lived process of cultural meaning making. Findings also challenge the assumptions of the “Holocaust model” of pathology in trauma theory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Descendants of Holocaust Survivors
Pages155-168
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000926118
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Psychology(all)

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