chapter  Chapter One
8 Pages

From earthquakes to ethnic cleansing: massive trauma and its individualised and societal consequences

WithVamık Volkan

Sharing jokes is one of the first societal responses to a massive trauma. On the surface, sharing jokes during and after a massive trauma, even while expecting such a trauma, sounds like an unreasonable thing to do. Shared jokes that are circulated soon after a massive trauma takes place can indicate to an investigator whether a massive trauma is going to break the tissue of the affected society or not. When a massive trauma occurs at the hand of the other, the victimised large group's tissue is broken and shared jokes are more directly related to dealing with shame, humiliation, and threats to one's large-group identity. They also build monuments after suffering a massive trauma at the hand of an other, such as Yad Vashem. After a massive trauma at the hands of the other, members of a large group will face difficult tasks taming and rendering harmless psychological features such as victimisation, dehumanisation, and humiliation.