Cultural trauma and constitution: Precursors of political traditions and collective identities

Gad Yair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sociology of constitutions is a rather new domain. This paper adds to the legal and political literature on national constitutions and their effects on political traditions and collective identities by using the theory of cultural trauma. Using cultural sociology's analyses of national trauma, it demonstrates that the meaning of national constitutions and their particular articles become clear when juxtaposed with the narratives of trauma that national leaders eternalised in their stories of constitution. Close scrutiny of the constitutions of the USA, France, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Ukraine shows that beneath the legal jargon and the distinct political worldviews of modern national constitutions lay constitutive national traumas. Those national traumas motivated constitutional authors to make sure that those traumas will never recur. In so doing they charted particular political destinies and created unique collective identities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)44-66
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Cultural trauma
  • comparative politics
  • cultural sociology
  • political socioogy
  • sociology of constitution


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