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Intergenerational Transmission of Traumatic Experience in the Families of War Survivors from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yordanova, KG; (2014) Intergenerational Transmission of Traumatic Experience in the Families of War Survivors from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the transmission of traumatic war experiences from parents to their children in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. By interdisciplinary welding of psychoanalysis and anthropology, the thesis demonstrates that the experiences of the Bosnian-Herzegovina war (1992-1995) are recalled incoherently and are unsymbolized by the survivor parents. As such they are transmitted to the second generation as ungraspable fragments. The thesis suggests in detail how this transmission operates. It argues that in daily interaction between parents and children, children translate the ungraspable fragments coming in the form of bodily symptoms, acts of speech and artefacts into a comprehensive version of their parents’ biography. Ultimately, children reconstruct their family’s past in order to locate themselves in time and relationships, thus gaining the identity of a descendant of a particular family at a particular moment. The thesis uses data collected through family and individual semi-structured interviews, participant observation and informed interpretation of children’s drawings in 26 families of war survivors from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The overall goal of the thesis is to construct from the broken accounts of the survivor parents (Part I) a narrative of the war. The thesis also seeks to encourage further interdisciplinary examination of the dynamic interplay between the private and the social levels of transmission in order to connect what is transmitted within the family to what comes from outside of it.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Intergenerational Transmission of Traumatic Experience in the Families of War Survivors from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1449257
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