Leila: Phenomena of Dissociation in a Young Adult's Media Interaction. A Case Study in Media-Biography and Psychotraumatology


  • Harald Weilnböck Universität Zürich




social research, media studies, narratology, narrative biography, psychoanalysis, psychotraumatology, dissociation, transference, Shoah


The theoretical discussion reflects the correspondence and methodological synergy between the narration theory in qualitative social research studies and the concepts of narration applied in object-relation psychoanalysis and psychotraumatology. The aim is the construction of an interdisciplinary model of narrative interaction which is applicable to social research as well as to media and cultural studies. The narrative-biographical case study focuses on the biography and media interaction of an eighteen-year-old high school graduate Leila who actively and competently takes part in the scholarly and cultural life of her school environment. Psychotraumatological factors of an alienated, partly violent and co-alcoholic relationship between Leila's intercultural parents as well as in the present family situation become apparent. The three-generation family dynamics become visible which goes back to the time of national socialism. While Leila's father is of Iraqi-Iranian descent, her mother stems from an economically secure bourgeois family, which lived in Königsberg (formerly known as Kaliningrad in USSR) before 1945 and fled to Northern Germany after WW II. The question of the family's responsibility for and/or victimization by the war and persecution remains unclear. Ultimately these biographical circumstances and psychotraumatical factors for Leila result in psycho-affective patterns of perception and media interaction which show signs of dissociation. These signs can be pointed out in Leila's reading and TV-interaction as well as in her mode of narration. Furthermore, Leila's long term friendship with a young man is characterized by recurrent conflict, misunderstandings and partly violent incidents. Projective identification seems to play an important role and also reflects in the current transference relationship with both male and female interviewers. Despite of her highly motivated approach, Leila's success in school is limited. Her final thesis on national socialism suffered from a lack of focus and structure and received a C for it (A is considered the highest grade). Leila's narration shows no sign that she ever wondered about the war experiences of her grandparents who actively participated in her upbringing. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030399


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Author Biography

Harald Weilnböck, Universität Zürich

Harald WEILNBÖCK ist Germanist, Kulturwissenschaftler und Gruppenanalytiker. Er hat in München, Berlin, New Haven, Los Angeles und Paris studiert bzw. unterrichtet und promovierte an der UCLA in Los Angeles mit einer Arbeit über HÖLDERLIN und HEIDEGGER, die auf neuere beziehungsanalytische sowie psychotraumatologische Begriffe rekurriert. Es erschienen Aufsätze zur literaturpsychologischen Text- und Filmanalyse, zu psychoanalytischen Themen, zur Shoah-Literatur, zu Fragen der literarischen Traumabearbeitung, zur qualitativ-soziologischen Lese- und Medienrezeptionsforschung und Narrationstheorie sowie zur "gruppenanalytischen Literaturinterpretation". Die verschiedenen Arbeitsbereiche sind durch ein handlungstheoretisches Gegenstandsverständnis von Literatur auf der Basis der psychoanalytischen Theorien der Gegen-/Übertragung verbunden. Harald WEINBÖCK ist im Begriff, seine Habilitation mit einer Arbeit über die "borderline literarische Interaktion am Beispiel Ernst Jünger" abzuschließen. Er führt als Lehrbeauftragter der Freien Universität Berlin das Pilotprojekt "Gruppenanalytisches Literaturseminar" durch und beabsichtigt, im plurimethodischen Vorgehen literaturpsychologische Textanalyse und qualitativ-sozialwissenschaftliche Rezeptionsforschung zu verbinden.



How to Cite

Weilnböck, H. (2003). Leila: Phenomena of Dissociation in a Young Adult’s Media Interaction. A Case Study in Media-Biography and Psychotraumatology. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-4.3.681



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