From Posttrauma Intervention to Immunization of the Social Body: Pragmatics and Politics of a Resilience Program in Israel's Periphery

Keren Friedman-Peleg*, Yehuda C. Goodman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article traces a critical change in the professional therapy of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): from treatment of a disorder borne by individuals to treatment of an anticipated disorder to be prevented by fortifying the entire population. A community resilience program in the city of Sderot in southern Israel, which has been subjected to Qassam rockets by its Palestinian neighbors across the border, serves as our case study. Drawing on an ethnographic study of this new therapeutic program, we analyze how the social body that the professionals attempt to immunize against trauma was treated. In particular, we follow the various practices used to expand the clinical. We found that the population was split into several groups on a continuum between the clinical and the preclinical, each receiving different treatment. Moreover, the social body managed according to this new form of PTSD was articulated through ethnic and geopolitical power relations between professionals from the country's center and professionals from its periphery, and between the professionals and the city's residents. Finally, we discuss how this Israeli case compares with other national sites of the growing globalization of PTSD, like Bali, Haiti and Ethiopia, which anthropologists have been exploring in recent years.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)421-442
Number of pages22
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Community resilience
  • Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

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