An intersectional perspective on the intergenerational transmission of trauma and state-perpetrated violence
We utilize intersectionality as the framework for analyzing and critiquing the literature on the intergenerational transmission of trauma in early childhood. In particular, we assess the extent to which the literature replicates the oppression of marginalized and minoritized children and families by deemphasizing traumas and traumatic processes that are attributable to interlocking systems of oppression. In addition, building on the emphasis on systems that is central to intersectionality, we assess the degree to which the literature engages with trauma perpetrated through formal social systems. We assert that an intersectional lens demands acknowledgement of state-perpetrated violence and that this acknowledgment is absent from the extant literature. To illustrate our argument, we present three structural analyses (“cases”) of state-perpetrated violence, leveraging life course theory and theories of historical and cultural trauma in addition to intersectionality theory to draw inferences about the intergenerational impacts of these cases. Through our analysis, we demonstrate how efforts to reduce contemporary state-perpetrated violence and repair the effects of historical state-perpetrated violence are well aligned with ongoing efforts in the public policy arena at promoting early childhood mental health and family thriving. We close with a proposed agenda for better integrating such efforts into research and policy.
Journal of Social Issues
Heberle, Amy E.; Obus, Elsia A.; and Gray, Sarah A.O., "An intersectional perspective on the intergenerational transmission of trauma and state-perpetrated violence" (2020). Psychology. 513.