All Trauma, Talk and Tears: In the Event of Speaking Out on TV

Jane Kilby

in Violence and the Cultural Politics of Trauma

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780748618163
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653041 | DOI:
All Trauma, Talk and Tears: In the Event of Speaking Out on TV

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This chapter is organised into two parts. Staged via Frigga Haug's feminist socialist reading of the global scene of child sexual abuse, the first part looks to interrogate the possibility of speaking out in a profit-driven culture of confession. It argues that there is no place outside mass media culture, and that if we are going to figure a future for a cultural politics of trauma, we have to think about how power works under the conditions of late modernity. The chapter expresses doubt as to whether Haug's recourse to precepts of socialist feminism are adequate to the task, as well as concern over her dismissive reading of women speaking out about personal traumas. The second part turns to a discussion of a British daytime talk show – Kilroy – dedicated to women speaking about their experiences of sexual abuse. It explores how we might reconfigure the political significance of their testimony, emphasizing the serial, nebulous and essentially impersonal nature of such testimony, and how it might be related to our understanding of graffiti.

Keywords: Frigga Haug; child sexual abuse; feminist social reading; confession; social feminism; Kilroy

Chapter.  12481 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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