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Robert Jay Lifton

Bio: Robert Jay Lifton is an academic researcher from City University of New York. The author has contributed to research in topics: Genocide & Armenian. The author has an hindex of 2, co-authored 3 publications receiving 278 citations.
Topics: Genocide, Armenian, Denial, Turkish

Papers
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Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: The psychological effects of the Buffalo Creek, West Virginia, flood disaster, which resulted from massive corporate negligence in the form of dumping coal waste in a mountain stream in a manner that created an artificial dam, resulted in increasingly dangerous water pressure behind it.
Abstract: In late 1972, we were asked by lawyers from the Washington, D.C., firm of Arnold and Porter to consult on the psychological effects of the Buffalo Creek, West Virginia, flood disaster. At that time a case claiming damages for “psychic impairment” was being prepared on behalf of more than 600 people who had survived the February 1972 flood. The flood resulted from massive corporate negligence in the form of dumping coal waste in a mountain stream in a manner that created an artificial dam, resulting in increasingly dangerous water pressure behind it. After several days of rain the dam gave way, and a massive, moving wall of “black water” (containing the coal waste), more than 30 feet high, roared through the narrow creek hollow, devastating the mining hamlets along the 17-mile valley. In less than an hour the water reached the foot of the hollow at Man, West Virginia, and in that time 125 people were killed and nearly 5,000 made homeless.

225 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines Turkish efforts to deny the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 and exposes an arrangement by which the government of Turkey has channeled funds into a supposedly objective research institute in the United States, which in turn paid the salary of a historian who served that government in its campaign to discredit scholarship on the Armen genocide.
Abstract: This article examines Turkish efforts to deny the Armenian genocide of 1915-17. Specifically, it exposes an arrangement by which the government of Turkey has channeled funds into a supposedly objective research institute in the United States, which in turn paid the salary of a historian who served that government in its campaign to discredit scholarship on the Armenian genocide. After a short review of the Armenian genocide and a range of Turkish denial efforts, three documents are reproduced in full. They include a letter that Robert Jay Lifton received from the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, and two documents that were inadvertently included with the Lifton letter—a memorandum to the Turkish Ambassador and a draft letter to Lifton for the Ambassador's signature. After a critical analysis of each document, we discuss the harmful ness of genocide denial and explore why intellectuals might engage in the denial of known genocides. The article concludes with reflections on the relationship between scholars and truth.

57 citations

01 Sep 1987
TL;DR: The positive image has been strengthened by the images of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the gradual universalization of nuclear concern as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: We live on images. Since the Second World War, a fundamental polarity has formed in our imagery - the extinction of the human species versus the creation of a human future. There have been variations on the negative image. One hears of "nuclear winter," of references to a final holocaust. The positive image has been strengthened by the images of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the gradual universalization of nuclear concern. Governmental agencies in the West have attempted to allay the anxiety generated in this polarity by advancing its own images - images of nuclear normality, and nuclear winning. Its most recent effort at image managing is the SDI program. This development promises complete protection from outside nuclear attack. Hope for the survival of the human species can be seen in two other images. The first is the image of nothingness, which can force the mind to rebel, and work to prevent the reality reflected in the image. The second is the image of the species self. We are all so interdependent that we have a shared self. With shared self comes the recognition of a shared fate. This image of the species self infuses us with a kind of inclusive human possibility, a commitment to humanity whose time has come. RESUME Nous vivons d'images. Depuis la Deuxieme guerre mondiale, notre imagerie s'est en quelque sorte polarisee, avec d'une part l'extinction de la race humaine et de l'autre, la creation d'un avenir pour la race humaine. Certaines variations affectent l'imagerie negative. On entend parler d'"hiver nucleaire," d'allusions a un holocauste. L'imagerie positive, par contre, est renforcee par les images du prix Nobel de la paix decerne au International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, et par l'universalisation progressive de la peur nucleaire. Les gouvernements occidentaux ont cherche a apaiser l'angoisse resultant de cette polarite en proposant leur propre imagerie - des images de normalite nucleaire et de victoire nucleaire. Leur derniere tentative dans ce sens est symbolisee par le programme SDI. Cette technologie futuriste promet en effet une protection totale en cas d'attaque nucleaire ennemie. L'espoir de voir survivre la race humaine est visible dans deux autres images. La premiere est l'image du neant qui peut obliger l'esprit a se revolter et a tout mettre en oeuvre pour prevenir sa materialisation. La deuxieme est l'image de l'espece proprement dite. Nous sommes touts lies par un tel degre d'interdependance que nous avons en quelque sorte un moi partage. Ce moi partage implique un destin partage. Cette image du moi de l'espece nous insuffle une sorte de possibilite humaine globale, un engagement vis-a-vis de l'humanite dont l'heure est arrivee.

Cited by
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Book
01 Jan 1976
TL;DR: The DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association, 1980) diagnoses for stress-response disorders, and the mutual etiologic effects of stressful life events, psychiatric disorders and preexisting conflicts or functional deficits are discussed in this paper.
Abstract: The signs and symptoms of response to a stressful life event are expressed in two predominant phases: the intrusive state, characterized by unbidden ideas and feelings and even compulsive actions, and the denial state, characterized by emotional numbing and constriction of ideation. In this review of stress-response syndromes, I will outline those phases, discuss the DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association, 1980) diagnoses for stressresponse disorders, and consider the mutual etiologic effects of stressful life events, psychiatric disorders, and preexisting conflicts or functional deficits. Guidelines for brief dynamic psychotherapy for patients who need more than transient support are presented.

2,259 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors divide childhood trauma into two basic types and define the findings that can be used to characterize each of these types, including full, detailed memories, "omens," and misperceptions.
Abstract: Childhood psychic trauma appears to be a crucial etiological factor in the development of a number of serious disorders both in childhood and in adulthood. Like childhood rheumatic fever, psychic trauma sets a number of different problems into motion, any of which may lead to a definable mental condition. The author suggests four characteristics related to childhood trauma that appear to last for long periods of life, no matter what diagnosis the patient eventually receives. These are visualized or otherwise repeatedly perceived memories of the traumatic event, repetitive behaviors, trauma-specific fears, and changed attitudes about people, life, and the future. She divides childhood trauma into two basic types and defines the findings that can be used to characterize each of these types. Type I trauma includes full, detailed memories, "omens," and misperceptions. Type II trauma includes denial and numbing, self-hypnosis and dissociation, and rage. Crossover conditions often occur after sudden, shocking deaths or accidents that leave children handicapped. In these instances, characteristics of both type I and type II childhood traumas exist side by side. There may be considerable sadness. Each finding of childhood trauma discussed by the author is illustrated with one or two case examples.

1,805 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The author explores the historical, political, and social forces that have played a major role in the acceptance of the idea of trauma as a cause of the specific symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and to discuss the impact that current research findings have had on some of the initial conceptualizations of the disorder.
Abstract: Objective: The authors ‘ goal was to explore the historical, political, and social forces that have played a major role in the acceptance of the idea of trauma as a cause of the specific symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to discuss the impact that current research findings have had on some ofthe initial conceptualizations ofthe disorder. Method: The conceptual origins of PTSD are described, and the literature on the prevalence, longitudinal course, phenomenology, and neurobiology of PTSD is reviewed. Results: Paradoxically, there are a series of findings that support the idea that PTSD is a distinct diagnostic entity, but these are different from those originally developed from psychosocial theory and stress research. �j clusions: PTSD has been a controversial diagnosis and is again at a vulnerable point. It is imperative that the field address how current findings challenge the original conceptualizations of this disorder so that the next generation of conceptual issues can be formulated. (Am J Psychiatry 1995; 152:1705-1713)

603 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that because concepts such as PTSD implicitly endorse a Western ontology and value system, their use in non-Western groups should be, atmost, tentative.

579 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examined the relationship between disaster occurrence and psychopathology outcome for 52 studies that used quantitative measures of such a relationship and found that a small but consistently positive relationship between disasters and personality disorders was found.
Abstract: The present review examines the relationship between disaster occurrence and psychopathology outcome for 52 studies that used quantitative measures of such a relationship. Descriptive and inferential techniques were used to examine relationships among four sets of variables: (a) the characteristics of the victim population, (b) the characteristics of the disaster, (c) study methodology, and (d) the type of psychopathology. A small but consistently positive relationship between disasters and psychopathology was found. The distribution of effect-size estimates was significantly heterogeneous, and this heterogeneity was partially accounted for by methodological characteristics of the research. When controlling for methodology, victim and disaster characteristics also contributed variance to the disaster-psychopathology relationship. Implications for future research are outlined in view of these results.

532 citations