Academy of Finland
Funding decision
Name Kivimäki, Ville
Organisation TAU
Project title Trauma before Trauma: Finnish War Veterans and the Posttraumatic Stress, 1945–55
Decision No. 326556
Decision date 29.04.2016
Funding period 01.01.2019 - 31.08.2019
Funding 55 575
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first introduced in the American classification of diseases in 1980, in the Finnish one in 1987. Since then, trauma has become a commonplace notion, used to describe even quite ordinary stress experiences. But what was the experience of trauma before the contemporary psychiatric diagnosis? Did it exist and in which forms did it manifest itself? How did it differ from current presumptions and how does a study of trauma's prehistory change our present-day understanding of trauma? The research project answers these questions by studying the Finnish war veterans' experiences in the immediate postwar years 1945–55. The specific objects of study are veterans' war-related nightmares, their bodily posttraumatic symptoms, and their literary descriptions of war's mental wounds. The aim of the project is to historicize our understanding of trauma, to bring forward wars' human impacts, and to evaluate critically the current practices of handling trauma.