Memories of trauma and organizing: Market women’s susu groups in postconflict Liberia Journal Article uri icon



  • This study builds on social-constructionist approaches to organizational memory studies by exploring how traumatic memories reconstruct present-day organizing practices. Using African feminist ethnography, I explored how war memories shaped market women’s informal credit organizations called ‘susu groups’ in postconflict Liberia. Findings show that traumatic memories engender and sustain three organizing practices: idealization, amplification, and contraction. Idealization is the projection of an ideal type of organization after traumatic events have occurred. This practice enables members to suppress a painful past and start anew by collectively reinventing their organization. Amplification is the intensification of certain elements, which become the most important in the organizing process. Amplification can make negative experiences resonate more deeply than positive ones. Contraction is the propensity of organizations to close off from the outside world after trauma. In the case of susu groups, contraction accentuated an existing tendency toward secrecy. The study contributes to intersections of organizational memory studies and trauma and organizing scholarship by showing how memories linger and continue to shape organizations long after trauma.

publication date

  • July 1, 2014

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • January 30, 2017 10:29 AM

Full Author List

  • Cruz J

author count

  • 1

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1350-5084

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1461-7323

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 447

end page

  • 462


  • 21


  • 4