Society for the Anthropology of Europe
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper examines the multiple grammars of trauma, survival, and witnessing through which the evidence substantiating PTSD and determining its financial compensation has been produced and circulated following France’s first case of mass domestic terrorism. As 11/13 testimonies are being processed for financial compensation, on the one hand, and for a science of memory on the other, a paradox arises: if the ideal “survivor” for the psycho-neurologist is she who overcomes her PTSD, for the purposes of trauma compensation, she must remain symptomatic. Who is considered a “survivor,” and as such an insider to trauma, and who is denied compensation as a “mere” witness? This conundrum embeds the production, circulation, and contestation of the evidence substantiating trauma and determining its compensation in the wake of the November 13, 2015 attacks. Combining insights from anthropologies of law, trauma, and science studies, this research on the case for compensation in the wake of the November 13, 2015 attacks investigates an ongoing transformation of reparation politics at the intersection of memory science and counter-terrorism.