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Title: Invisible wounds : a genealogy of emotional abuse and other psychic harms
Author: Allsopp, Marian
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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This dissertation is about how the concept of harm, damage or wound is applied as a metaphor to a site often called the self or the soul. This is the social space of the individual subject, which is, paradoxically, placed by our language and culture in a person’s interior – a place where we are all said to be vulnerable and endangered by a potentially hostile environment. The thesis consists of a series of studies which are designed to show how the concept of harm to an inner life emerges from different discursive contexts, and how it does so in distinctly variable versions: psychological, emotional, neurological or social, in more or less stable hybrid forms. Using primary sources which are mostly documentary, supported by some interviews, the studies range from a look at the psychiatric history of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and at the story of its rewriting in English tort law; the recent reprised popularity of attachment theory and its marriage to neurology and a look at the career of the concept of the emotional abuse of children as a social problem category in the legal/administrative processes of Child Protection. These are introduced by a first chapter which concentrates on the metaphoric content of invisible wounds or psychic trauma and the way it produces particular forms of the self. The studies which follow this are clustered around the literature and practices of the psychiatric, psychological, psycho-analytic, social work and legal professions, in order to show how the work of these professionals makes the concept of a psychic injury visible, discussible, treatable, administrable and justiciable. Through their efforts, it is argued, the concept moves from being a metaphor, hooked onto the palpable reality of a physical wound, to acquire a ‘facticity’ of its own; it becomes a reality through its achieved status as a social problem category and an ever present risk to self and self regulation at the turn of the 21st century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology, Post traumatic stress disorder, Psychic injury,