The bounce in our steps from shared material resources in cultural trauma and recovery

Stacey Menzel Baker, Creighton University
Courtney Nations Baker, University of North Florida


Our research reveals how people employ shared material resources to socially construct their stories and collective identity in times of cultural trauma and recovery. Analysis of a documentary series, interviews, books, songs, and visual images chronicling the recovery of a community following a devastating tornado reveals three themes: (1) a vulnerability narrative about suffering, lost capacity, and responsibility, (2) a resiliency narrative about opportunity, collaboration, and abundant capacity, and (3) a bounce narrative about the power of shared material resources to shift collective identity within the cultural landscape of trauma and recovery. We draw on cultural trauma theory from cultural sociology that explains how a traumatic event shapes collective identity. Our findings extend cultural trauma theory by revealing that vulnerability and resiliency are intertwined processes that are informative when studied together, particularly with respect to the role of shared material resources in empowering shifts in collective identity trajectories.