The example of the story of Wahram Altounian, a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide at the age of fourteen, shows how an adolescent can undertake what the authors calls an “ adolescence-work ” as a particular form of “ Kulturarbeit ” by the original means of a strategy : a ruse. The massive mobilization of libido for self-preservation, buttressed by paternal identification and a quality of perception that quickly identifies the usefulness of external reality for survival, enables the adolescent to get what Kestemberg calls the “ Oedipal organizer ” going again. However, a traumatic part remains embedded within; it has not attained symbolization and retains a potential for melancholy.
From 1939 through to 1945, adolescents, like the rest of the French population, suffered the effects of the war and the German occupation. The analysis of different stages of the conflict and their repercussions, allows light to be thrown onto the psychological reactions specific to young boys and girls. These reactions are perceptible in both daily life and in the school context.
The change in the nature of armed conflicts has had serious repercussions on the situation of children and youths. Since the second half of the 20th c. humanitarian principles of international law have protected both civilian children, in the case of conflicts, as well as children participating in the hostilities. Today an increase in the number of authorities as well as in the facilities providing protection can be noted. Furthermore, the adoption in May of 2000 of a further protocol to the Convention on children’s rights of November 20, 1989 can also be considered as a significant advancement, as can the links between the protection of children and the future International Criminal Court
What today, adolescents think of Politics? Being involved, how do they feel political violence? Do they link Politics and trauma ? Onwards a rather antropological general questioning, study and interpretation should go beyond phenomenological points of view as regard to sociological facts, so go back, in a psychoanalytical way, to the individual trauma as a psychic question, linked with history and contexts, generation and transmission, belongingness and fililation.
The frequency of military engagement of adolescents in genocide raises the question of a possible parallel between the processes involved in war and those mobilized in adolescence. This leads to the question of the possible resonance between individual psychical processes and social processes, along the lines of what Freud introduced in Civilization and Its Discontents. Here the intersection of processes would occur around the act as a substitute for a failure of trans-generational transmission in childhood, either within the family or within the social milieu.
The author studies the psycho-social consequences of war : psycho-traumatic suffering, resilience and hyper-maturity. Several clinical illustrations raise the question of what future awaits these adolescents and what help may be given to them.
The notion of resiliency appears heuristic about post traumatic pathologies studies. Borrowed to physical sciences epistemology as resistance of metal about shocks, we propose to think resiliency process in clinical psychopathology as psychics organiser able to promote the representation of traumatism.
The resiliency capacity apprehends in logical of psychic economy placed at the convergence of objectal investments, primary psychics envelopment’s and psychosensorial inscription of traumatic experience.
The promotion of sensorial organisation perenity seems the basal form of resiliency process before his fantasmatic scene. The psychic trauma may be thought as an equivalent of original scene where the suffering is not enough the sign of aneantissement but the reparation of formal envelopes of bind objet/subject. The caducity of traumatic experiment supplants real excess, which sudden stroke the victim person. These necessary passage of sensibility translate a lestage of psychic crossing previous to a work of the thinking of traumatism.
The reversal into the opposite and the turning round upon oneself are the basic archaic mechanisms of subjectivation, particularly of the pubertaire. It works with material that Green has summed up under the name “ passivation ”. A human third party is required for this. Clinical treatment of the “ adolescent-soldier ” provides a paradigm for the organization in which, in the absence of the third party, the traumatic bi-polarity (victim-tormentor, abused, abuser) repeats itself unchanged.
This is a current say today : adolescents meet violence, act it, and the institutions they pass through are similarly involved ; On all scenes, bringing into war can be seen, facts accumulating altogether on social, political, family and cultural scenes, as well on internal psychic scenes whether individual, groupal or institutionalized. Many of these war scenes are the effects of transgressions, in speech as in act, now begining to be inscribed in social life and institutions. Social corruption, dislocation of social links, abscence of Politics, juridical compromizing, alliances between sciences and politics can be observed in generalization. What then could be a possible response, both institutional and cultural ? By which means could Politics come back ? Who should be the actors for it ? How would dreaming be again a structuring way ?
Issues of trauma, adolescence and the onset of psychosis are brought together with reference to the case of Alma in Bosnia. The question of the impact of the somatic wound in the midst of these problems is also raised, followed by a discussion of therapeutic treatments.