Chantal Frère-Artinian : genocide and adolescence-work

The example of the story of Wahram Altounian, a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide at the age of fourteen, shows how an adolescent can undertake what the authors calls an “ adolescence-work ” as a particular form of “ Kulturarbeit ” by the original means of a strategy : a ruse. The massive mobilization of libido for self-preservation, buttressed by paternal identification and a quality of perception that quickly identifies the usefulness of external reality for survival, enables the adolescent to get what Kestemberg calls the “ Oedipal organizer ” going again. However, a traumatic part remains embedded within; it has not attained symbolization and retains a potential for melancholy.