Subjective experience of the rampage in Graz from the perspective of psychosocial emergency care.
Amok acts are characterized by a personal — by the perpetrator — and societal loss of control. Controlled by anger, hatred or feelings of revenge, multiple killings of specific or randomly selected people are intended. When people feel unprotected and at the mercy of events with a traumatogenic quality, they usually need emergency psychosocial care to return to their idea of normal life. This is especially true for disasters and complex damage events, regardless of whether they are “man-made” or “nature-made” events. The Graz rampage presented the psychosocial response team with major challenges, and not just logistical ones, as they were on duty for a whole week and provided care for thousands of people. How this operation was subjectively experienced and mastered, what challenges arose and what coping strategies were used in the short, medium and long term is analysed in this paper on the basis of qualitative data.
“I would say that here not only individual life has been threatened and violated, but also common life. The whole thing, and especially in this public space, it has gone out into the veins, so to speak, into the districts.… Otherwise, we were [mainly] in operations that did not go beyond this microcosm of social life at all. But here, as it were, life together is threatened by an inconceivable act”
(Mr. O., Psychosocial emergency care team member).
Publication: Renate Renner (2023) Disruption und Resilienz. Subjektives Erleben der Amokfahrt in Graz aus Sicht der psychosozialen Notfallversorgung. In: Kultur, Psyche und Desaster. Beiträge aus Europäischer Ethnologie, Psychotherapiewissenschaft, Katastrophenforschung und Frisistik. Festschrift für Univ.-Prof. DDr. Bernd Rieken. Waxmann.
Contact: Renate Renner