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Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity$
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Jeffrey Alexander

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520235946

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520235946.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Epilogue: September 11, 2001, as Cultural Trauma

Epilogue: September 11, 2001, as Cultural Trauma

(p.264) Epilogue: September 11, 2001, as Cultural Trauma
Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity

Neil J. Smelser

University of California Press

This epilogue was added after the book was finished. September 11 appears to fit the book's initial definition of cultural trauma, which is “When members of a collectivity feel they have been subjected to an awful event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness, marking their memories forever, and changing their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable ways.” The events of September 11 are real cultural trauma. September 11 was given shape by several special features of American culture and character. It must be acknowledged that the story of every cultural trauma is unique. As an observation on the September 11 attacks in the United States, it concludes that the country has done much in the context of deep ambivalence toward international aggression.

Keywords:   September 11, United States, culture, character, trauma

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