1st Edition

Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial, and Human Rights Perspectives on Enforced Disappearance

Edited By Maria Giovanna Bianchi, Monica Luci Copyright 2024
    282 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    282 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Collecting authoritative contributions, Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial, and Human Rights Perspectives on Enforced Disappearance combines the life experience of victims with the expertise of scholars and practitioners of human rights, psychoanalysis, and artists to compose a picture that renders the complexity of this crime in its legal, psychological, and social aspects.

    Victims offer a glimpse into the bottomless despair of those who lose a family member in such a dramatic and torturous way. Academic scholars give a picture of this crime in contemporary world. Experts in human rights law address the progress and limitations of the different standards applied in international human rights law. The psychosocial framework in the context of forensic investigations and reparations encourages the decision-making process of the victims and the elaboration of their personal and collective stories. Psychoanalytic authors address the problems of perpetrators' states of mind, the profound psychological and unconscious significance of torture and the disappearance of people by the State, and the issues of memory and trauma in its multiple meanings, individual, collective, and transgenerational. Art is part of this collective effort to work through, to question, to understand and repair the damages of evil.

    The book is aimed at postgraduate students, scholars, and practitioners in politics, psychoanalysis, law, psychology, psychosocial studies, human rights, social work and justice, and related fields.

    Title: Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial, and Human Rights Perspectives on Enforced Disappearance

    ISBN(s): 9781032320588 hbk / 9781032320571 pbk / 9781003312642 ebk

    Available OA content: Chapter 10 and Chapter 13

    Licence line: Chapter 10 and Chapter 13 of this book are available for free in PDF format as Open Access from the individual product page at www.taylorfrancis.com. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

    Part 1: Enforced Disappearance in the Contemporary World

    1. Enforced disappearances in the contemporary world: The recent contributions of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

    Bernard Duhaime

    2. The curse of ambiguity: The traumatic memory of victims of enforced disappearance

    Angkhana Neelapaijit

    3. Mourning the disappeared: A personal account

    Andrea Paula Bleichmar

    Part 2: Enforced Disappearance and Human Rights

    4. The law in front of the denial of the law

    Emmanuel Decaux

    5. The psychological impact of enforced disappearance on victims in light of international human rights law

    Santiago Corcuera Cabezut

    6. The value and need for incorporating a psychosocial approach to forensic case-work in cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, including those who do not survive enforced and involuntary disappearances.

    Morris Tidball-Binz

    7. Fifty shades of suffering? The wavering international jurisprudence on relatives of disappeared persons as victims of human rights violations

    Gabriella Citroni

    8. The fight against impunity for enforced disappearances: A historical and personal account

    Baltasar Garzón

    Part 3: Enforced Disappearance in Psychosocial and Psychoanalytical Perspectives

    9. Memories of enforced disappearance: Psychological need and political aim

    Maria Giovanna Bianchi

    10. Tortured and disappeared bodies: The problem of ‘knowing’

    Monica Luci

    11. Enforced disappearances and its perpetrators: The psychosis of total loss

    Richard Mizen

    12. "Can you describe this?": United Nations officers and the families of the disappeared

    Ghislaine Boulanger

    13. Traumatic traces of enforced disappearance through generations: From psychoanalytic theory to a family case study

    Manon Bourguignon, Muriel Katz, and Alice Dermitzel

    14. Names without bodies and bodies without names: Ambiguous loss and closure after enforced disappearance

    Pauline Boss and Simon Robins

    15. An Art Work for the "Jardin des Disparus" – in Meyrin, Switzerland  "QUESTION MARK"

    Anne Blanchet



    Maria Giovanna Bianchi, PhD, is an analytical psychologist and psychotherapist. She worked for almost three decades as a United Nations Human Rights Officer.

    Monica Luci, PhD, is a Jungian and relational psychoanalyst, and a lecturer in refugee care in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies of the University of Essex.

    "This outstanding collection weaves its intricate threads to connect human rights work with psychoanalysis. To call it ‘interdisciplinary’, though correct, is far too dry. The commitment of those who work in the field of human rights rests on the most profound depth psychological motivations. And psychoanalysis, at its base, is committed to freedom. The crime of enforced disappearance presents a challenge at every level. This book is an amazingly vibrant response."

    Andrew Samuels, author of The Political Psyche

    "Really important work on the critical link between psychology and human rights. Both disciplines are about healing, much needed to counter the scourge of enforced disappearances."

    Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

    "This vital new volume both witnesses the suffering and discusses the psychopolitical meaning of the immense human rights violation of disappearing human beings. Assembling an array of authors who are impressively knowledgeable and deeply implicated in this story, Bianchi and Luci's book is a much-needed contribution to the recognition and understanding of one painful and unfortunately representative recent and contemporary political repression."

    Jessica Benjamin, psychoanalyst and author of Beyond Doer and Done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third

    "In the 1970s, mothers and grandmothers in Argentina looked for the disappeared, fought for the right to the truth, and obtained the adoption of the International Convention. This book, in a profound juridical and psychological analysis of enforced disappearances, shows the sophistication needed to address, from the point of view of victims, relatives, perpetrators, lawyers, and psychotherapists, a crime that unfortunately is still being committed in many countries of the world."

    Federico Villegas, former President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador of Argentina to the United Nations

    "A stunning achievement, Maria Giovanna Bianchi and Monica Luci have created a multidisciplinary depiction of the human cost of state and non-state policies of forced disappearance.  This much-needed volume brings together legal theory, human rights assessments, personal testimonial accounts and psycho-social/psychoanalytic perspectives to illuminate the complex meanings for us all of living in political cultures in which forced disappearance is practiced as a strategy to control and intimidate specific groups or entire populations.  The book’s authors explore the frozen mourning process among those whose loved ones are disappeared as well as the psychological cost to people when existential anxieties of the unknown and unpredictable are transformed into real politically-organized policies of threat. This single volume is a precious gift to those interested in understanding the complex convergences between the social and the psyche in the context of the traumatogenic human rights violation of forced disappearance." 

    Nancy Caro Hollander, author, Uprooted Minds:  A Social Psychoanalysis for Precarious Times (Routledge, 2023)

     "This pioneering volume is most welcome not only for highlighting a relatively neglected topic and for attempting to view it from a variety of different perspectives, but also for grappling with a unique form of ‘involuntary dislocation’, where the tyrannical presence of the absence of loved ones creates complexities of human experiences and judicial investigations that are extremely difficult to grasp and to pursue."

    Renos K Papadopoulos, professor and director, Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees, University of Essex, UK, author, Involuntary Dislocation: Home, Trauma, Resilience and Adversity-Activated Development