Invisible Victims and Public Health: Epistemic Injustices in the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma
This chapter applies the concept of hermeneutical injustice to the social and clinical misconstructions regarding the case of intergenerational transmission of trauma and subtle relational trauma, as well as to the lack of a child centered perspective, obscuring so not only the social study and understanding of the problem, but the victim’s skills to make sense of her own experiences from generation to generation.
Mechanisms underlying the intergenerational transmission of trauma, as well as the transformations of trauma across generations, are outlined. Traumatized children may adopt relational strategies that differ in form from the harmful treatment they have received from caregivers. This may translate into behavioral patterns that seem unrelated to the trauma experienced by the child within her attachment relationships, and thus compromise the ability to recognize, prevent and treat that harm effectively, becoming so a problem of justice and public mental health.
In order to overcome the invisibility involved in these cases and its negative impact on public health policies, the chapter defends that those cases constitute an instance of epistemic injustice. Several normative problems and paradoxes concerning the ethics of child health, such as the questions of thresholds in public health policies or the conflicts on parental responsibility, are addressed through the lens of epistemic injustice. As a result, we advocate, contrary to reactive views, for inclusive preventive measures as a matter of justice to avoid the perpetuation of invisible injustices.
KeywordsEpistemic injustice Recognition Parental responsibility Attachment Intergenerational trauma
- Améry, J. (2001). Más allá de la culpa y de la expiación. Valencia: Pre-textos.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1: Loss. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Bufacchi, V. (2016). Love in the time of epistemic injustice. In M. Marinucci (Ed.), Jane Austen and philosophy (pp. 3–13). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Corbí, J. (2005). Emociones morales en la flecha del tiempo: Un esquema de la experiencia del daño. Azafea. Revista de filosofía, 7, 47–64.Google Scholar
- Mullin, A. (2014). Children, vulnerability, and emotional harm. In C. Mackenzie, W. Rogers, & S. Dodds (Eds.), Vulnerability (pp. 266–287). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Marvin, B. (2013). The circle of security intervention: Enhancing attachment in early parent-child relationships. New York: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
- Schore, A. N. (2010). Relational trauma and the developing right brain: The neurobiology of broken attachment bonds. In T. Baradon (Ed.), Relational trauma in infancy: Psychoanalytic, attachment and neuropsychological contributions to parent–infant psychotherapy (pp. 19–47). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar