Law Text Culture


Trauma studies has had a long relationship with legal studies. Shoshana Felman argues that ‘trauma – individual as well as social – is the basic underlying reality of the law’ (2002: 172). The law has made available certain forms for the representation and adjudication of traumatic experience. Among others, testimony and the trial are legal forms that offer the potential for justice for traumatic events, at the same time that they delimit the ways in which trauma can be understood (Felman 2002; Sarat et al 2007). The means by which trauma is represented determines which experiences are privileged and recognized – which also means that some harms will become invisible under certain frameworks. Scholars working at the intersection of law and trauma have often turned to literature to supplement the law’s version of justice.