Trauma of the Polish March

Katarzyna Chmielewska
Google Scholar Katarzyna Chmielewska
Tomasz Żukowski
Google Scholar Tomasz Żukowski


The events of March 1968 are usually shown as a type of cataclysm, affecting the whole society, caused by a single agent — the Communist authorities — without the participation of this society. At the same time, it is a founding cataclysm, as it is the starting point of the history of the Polish opposition and the universal resistance against the authorities. The word “trauma” becomes the key word for the description of the events of March, as it is used not so much in the context of the experience of those facing repression and their relatives, but the entire society. The abundance of the trauma discourse prompts its perception as a symptom and raises questions about the hidden Real, i.e. about who suffered the trauma and what this trauma consists in. We propose an analysis of the trauma discourse that takes into consideration the image of the social field created by this discourse. We want to describe games between the individual actors of the events as well as the emerging tensions and stakes in these games. We analyze the image conveyed by the historical discourse about March 1968, established after the Turn of 1989.

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