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STOCKHOLM SYNDROME AS VERNACULAR RESOURCE

Authors


Michael Adorjan, Department of Sociology and Centre for Criminology, University of Hong Kong, Room 1210, 12th fl., K.K. Leung Building, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong 999077, China; e-mail: madorjan@hku.hk

Abstract

First coined in 1973 to describe a pathological response on the part of individuals involved in kidnapping or hostage-taking situations, the label “Stockholm syndrome” has since been used in a much broader range of contexts including reference to wife battering and human trafficking, and in debates about gender and race politics as well as international relations. Tracing the domain expansion of Stockholm syndrome since the 1970s, we examine how the label offers claims-makers a device for neutralizing the arguments of those with opposing points of view, and, in so doing, reinforces collective narratives and “formula stories” of victimization.

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