Being and Trauma: A Theory of Listening as a Dis/Appropriation of the Listener to the Call of the Unspeakable in Trauma
Date of Award
Religious and Theological Studies
Sandra Lee Dixon
Listening, Post-Heidegger, Trauma
What is it to have a voice, to be heard? And how is this connected to the need to have someone listen? Through a close reading of Heidegger’s later works woven together with readings of Judith Butler, Jean Luc Marion, Michel Foucault, and Shoshana Felman, I explore a concept of Listening as it is connected to the event of our being, creating a theory of Listening that emphasizes what happens in the Listener as she Listens.
The concept of Listening is relied on, but under-considered, in both clinical and philosophical theories. In order to understand what it means to have a voice or to be heard in the aftermath of trauma, we need a more accurate and nuanced understanding of what happens when we Listen in the therapeutic setting, as well as more generally. Exploring the happening of Listening gives us an increased understanding of what Listening to trauma requires of the Listener as she addresses the unspeakableness of the survivors’ experiences.
By developing a new way of thinking about what happens in the Listener as she Listens, I make these two contributions: in Heideggerian studies I offer an application of Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein, and in Trauma Studies, I offer a new way to view what a Listener does as she Listens.
Building on the practical emphasis in Trauma Studies on the importance of Listening, how to Listen, and in particular how to Listen in such a way as to not develop secondary post-traumatic stress as a Listener, I develop a new way of thinking about what it is that happens in the Listener as she listens to the traumatic, or more precisely, Listens to what is unspeakable in the trauma—that which makes it, by definition, traumatic.
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Douglass, Kathleen M., "Being and Trauma: A Theory of Listening as a Dis/Appropriation of the Listener to the Call of the Unspeakable in Trauma" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2173.
Received from ProQuest
Kathleen M. Douglass
Philosophy, Counseling psychology, Therapy
Available for download on Friday, April 11, 2025
Counseling Psychology Commons, Other Philosophy Commons, Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons