The Cultural Sociology of Political Assassination

Publication Date: 
September 2011

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Political assassinations are always shocking and traumatic; sometimes however they lead to a cultural trauma, that is, a broad public debate about the foundations of collective identity. The theory of cultural trauma is applied in this book to six political assassinations, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy in the United States, Olof Palme and Anna Lindh in Sweden and Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands. Only in the Swedish case did a cultural trauma not emerge, this book explains why it did not and why it did in the case of the United States and the Netherlands.