Understanding the Transgenerational Legacy of Totalitarian Regimes : Paradoxes of Cultural Learning book cover
1st Edition

Understanding the Transgenerational Legacy of Totalitarian Regimes
Paradoxes of Cultural Learning

ISBN 9780367135614
Published November 24, 2020 by Routledge
244 Pages

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Book Description

Understanding the Transgenerational Legacy of Totalitarian Regimes examines the ways in which the cultural memory of surviving totalitarianism can continue to shape individual and collective vulnerabilities as well as build strength and resilience in subsequent generations.

The author uses her personal experience of growing up in the former Soviet Union and professional expertise in global trauma to explore how the psychological legacy of totalitarian regimes influences later generations’ beliefs, behaviors, and social and political choices. The book offers interdisciplinary perspectives on the complex aftermath of societal victimization in different cultures and discusses survivors’ experiences. Readers will find practical tools that can be used in family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and peace building to recognize and challenge preconceived assumptions stemming from cultural trauma.

This book equips trauma-minded mental health professionals with an understanding of the transgenerational toxicity of totalitarianism and with strategies for becoming educated consumers of cultural legacy.

Table of Contents

1. Historical Recurrence 2. Systems and Ecology of Trauma 3. Social Psychology of Trauma 4. Cultural Trauma 5. Totalitarian Regimes in Modern History 6. Totalitarian Regimes as Abusive Power and Control by the Government 7. Adaptation to Abuse, Unpredictability and Gaslighting 8. The Leader-Group Synergy 9. Cult and Culture 10. Totalitarian Mythology 11. Historical Memory and Public Narratives 12. Transgenerational Trauma and its Transmission 13. Cultural Representation Theory (CRT) of Cultural Trauma 14. Paradoxes of Survivorship 15. Survival Messages 16. Cross-Cultural and Trauma-Specific Messages 17 Cross-Cultural Comparison of Survival Messages: An Exploratory Study 18. Practical Implications: From Victim to Actor Conclusion and Future Directions References Appendix

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Elena Cherepanov, PhD, is a psychologist who teaches in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Cambridge College in Massachusetts.


"This book is a valuable addition to the field, one that attempts to distill the main dimensions of trauma legacy of totalitarian regimes. It has potential to help individuals, families, and society."Yael Danieli, PhD, director of the Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and Their Children and founder of the International Center for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Multi-Generational Legacies of Trauma, USA

"This book is a call to both reflection and action. It focuses on how to create a better future in the face of reoccurring mass violence, oppression, and totalitarian tendencies. This book, rich in knowledge, experience, and references, is a must for everybody interested in trauma psychology, political history, social psychology, and peace work." — Göran Högberg MD, PhD, general psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and psychodramatist, Sweden

"This book is very valuable. It describes the powerful role of past group traumas in the life of a society and shows not only how group traumas and their psychological effects become part of a society’s culture but also how they enable the creation and maintenance of totalitarian systems. The author’s analysis has the potential to create awareness in people living in traumatized societies, which can make dictatorships less likely and improve people's lives in a variety of ways." — Ervin Staub, professor emeritus and founding director of the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA