To 'see' is to break an entanglement: quantum measurement, trauma and security

K M Fierke, Nicola McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


This article seeks to explore the quantum notion that to ‘see’ an entanglement is to break it in the context of an ‘experiment’ regarding the ongoing impact of traumatic political memory on the present. The analysis is a product of collaboration over the past four years between the two authors, one a scholar of international relations, the other a therapeutic practitioner with training in medical physics. Our focus is the conceptual claim that ‘seeing’ breaks an entanglement rather than the experiment itself. The first section explores a broad contrast between classical and quantum measurement, asking what this might mean at the macroscopic level. The second section categorizes Wendt’s claim about language as a form of expressive measurement and explores the relationship to discourse analysis. The third section explores the broad contours of our experiment and the role of a somewhat different form of non-linear expressive measurement. In the final section, we elaborate the relationship between redemptive measurement and breaking an entanglement, which involves a form of ‘seeing’ that witnesses to unacknowledged past trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-466
Number of pages17
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Issue number5
Early online date20 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Quantum measurement
  • Transgenerational entanglement
  • Memory mapping
  • Seen and unseen
  • Trauma
  • Redemption


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