The Injury Point

Guest: Noa Ben-Asher, James D. Hopkins Professor of Law, Pace University, on the negative implications of trauma-centered advocacy and social justice.

As the result of a broad societal shift recognizing the injuries of violence, it’s been said that we live in an “age of trauma.” Emotional trauma has fueled legal and policy social justice reforms in the three key social justice movements of our time: #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and climate change. However, trauma-centered advocacy and social justice can have negative implications.

Noa Ben-Asher, LLB, LLM, JSD, has taught torts; family law; and gender, sexuality and the law at Pace University in New York since 2009. They hold the 2021–2023 James D. Hopkins Professorship, which recognizes a faculty member for outstanding scholarship and teaching.

In this episode, Professor Ben-Asher warns that, even as we have advanced our understanding of trauma as a modern characteristic of our times, we are in danger of overlooking structural solutions to broader social injustice. They suggest that litigators and laymen alike should take caution in using trauma as the framework for justice as it perpetuates wounded identities and limits our legal and social imagination.

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