The demise of PTSD: From governing through trauma to governing resilience

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This article raises questions about the possible waning of the authority of the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While avoiding predictions, it points to signs that the authority of PTSD is now being challenged by both the rise of resilience-based models and the increasing authority of biomedical and neurological approaches in the governance of trauma. It explores these challenges in various empirical sites, including humanitarian interventions, Western military settings (especially involving the US Army and North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]), as well as civilian contexts, including national health services, emergency preparedness, schools, universities, and other sectors. The article concludes by stressing some of the troubling politics that surround these new developments, which, like the diagnosis of PTSD, may individualize and govern the experience of traumatic events, including war, in a broad context of social and economic austerity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-226
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • humanitarian intervention
  • military mental health
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • resilience
  • trauma


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