Accepted paper:

Shattered credence

Author:

Laetitia Atlani-Duault (IRD)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to explore how, in the aftermath of extreme situations, cultural systems for making sense of painful events are seriously undermined, but can also be reconstructed by the victims and their entourages. We present a case study rooted in memories of organized sexual violence against Vietnamese 'boat people'.

Paper long abstract:

Our aim in this paper is to explore how, in the aftermath of extreme situations, cultural systems for making sense of painful events are seriously undermined, but can also be reconstructed by the victims and their entourages, in stages, to restore sense to the world and allow life to continue. We present a case study rooted in memories of organized sexual violence against Vietnamese "boat people." Among other findings, the study highlights how - after fleeing their country of origin, spending long periods in refugee camps and eventually settling in a host country - the "confidence" of these refugees in a culturally determined system of representation of the world was powerfully shaken before being reconstituted collectively over years of exile. This analysis is based on interviews carried out in France with boat people during three periods: at the end of the 1980s, during the first half of the 1990s, and in 2011.

panel W112
What happens when we stop believing in/believing that?