© 2017

Violent Trauma, Culture, and Power

An Interdisciplinary Exploration in Lived Religion


  • Uses interdisciplinary studies to analyse the responses of organized institutional trauma ministries

  • Discusses the severity of violence in the United States as a context for looking at the treatment of violent trauma on a personal and communal level

  • Fosters inter-cultural dialogue across religious and secular boundaries


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. Michelle Walsh
    Pages 1-22
  3. Michelle Walsh
    Pages 87-139
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 289-332

About this book


This book is an interdisciplinary exploration of the intertwining impact of violent trauma, culture, and power through case studies of two ministries serving in different demographic contexts within the United States. Mass shootings continue to rise in the United States, including in religious and school contexts, and the U.S. also is ground zero for the now international Black Lives Matter movement. The author shows how all forms of violent trauma impact more than individuals –devastating communal relationships and practices of religious or spiritual meaning-making in the aftermath, and assesses how these impacts differ according to lived experiences with culture and power.

Looking at the two ministries, an urban grassroots lay ministry organization that serves surviving family members in the aftermath of homicide, and a denominational ministry that served a church in the aftermath of a political and religiously motivated shooting, the author develops trauma-specific interdisciplinary tools for lived religion studies.


pastoral care trauma ministries material religion embodied theology disaster relief ethics Black Lives Matter faith church Christianity youth family sociology anthropology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkBoston UniversityBoston, MAUSA

About the authors

Rev. Dr. Michelle Walsh, PhD, LICSW teaches at the School of Social Work, Boston University, USA. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker, activist, ordained as a Unitarian Universalist community minister, and holds a Ph.D. in practical theology.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Violent Trauma, Culture, and Power
  • Book Subtitle An Interdisciplinary Exploration in Lived Religion
  • Authors Michelle Walsh
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-41771-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-82425-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-41772-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXVI, 332
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 21 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociology of Religion
    Social Anthropology
    Religion and Gender
    Sociology of Culture
    Religion and Psychology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This monograph engages an impressive breadth of theological and social scientific literature. It also offers a strong articulation of the challenges and promise of interdisciplinary scholarship that has implications extending well beyond theology and studies of religion. … Violent Trauma, Culture, and Power brings methodological tools from religious studies and theology into ethnographic work that merges sociological understandings of inequality with neuroaffective studies of trauma.” (Eleanor Catherine Craig,, 2018)

“Michelle Walsh draws upon her experience as a social worker and Unitarian Universalist minister as well as two in-depth case studies to investigate culture, trauma, and lived religion. … Walsh has made an important contribution to the literature. It is a valuable read for religious communities, therapists, and other mental health professionals.” (Louis Hoffman and Ashley Whitaker, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 62 (51), December, 2017)