Illustrative vignettes from ethnographic interviews with Jewish Israeli and Buddhist Cambodian Holocaust and genocide trauma descendants allow for a comparative exploration of the ways in which descendants depict the presence of the genocide dead and constitute descendant-ancestor personal relations. Contemporary scholarship concerning continued bonds, contact, and intimate relations with the dead, and their potential for meaning making and transformation - foundational paradigms in trauma theory and Holocaust and genocide studies - often reduce trauma descendant relations with the dead to the haunting and burdensome presence of voided absence or pathological identification. Assuming that particular cultural meaning worlds and sociopolitical contexts, such as the Jewish Israeli context or the Buddhist Khmer Cambodian context, uniquely mediate the way in which individuals engage with their familial past, findings have implications for the porous border between the living and ancestors who perished in genocidal events and for the constitutive role of particular contemporary cultural worldviews that continue to valorize personal and familial commemoration of ancestors.
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- Continued bonds
- Intergenerational transmission
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (all)