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Published on Oct 31, 2011
"The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for Genocide" is a video clip that was recorded on October 30, 2011, in Portland, Oregon, USA, by Linda Hartling, for the World Dignity University initiative. See, among others, article titled "Genocide, Humiliation, and Inferiority: An Interdisciplinary Perspective," in Robins, Nicholas and Adam Jones (Eds.), Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice, Bloomington, chapter 7, pp. 138-158. IN: Indiana University Press, 2009. • Abstract: Genocide has many perplexing characteristics. For example, is it solely and fundamentally about killing? If so, why are so many genocide victims not "merely" killed, but elaborately humiliated beforehand? Furthermore, are the victims of genocide not members of rather powerless minorities whose significance is blown up artificially? If so, why are resources mobilized to humiliate and kill people who are already powerless? Why, in short, are the powerless perceived as a threat? This chapter draws on the author's work on humiliation studies, and other analyses of humiliation in the genocide-studies literature. It suggests that neither ethnic fault lines, nor dwindling resources or other "rational" conflicts of interest, nor simple scapegoating, nor any general "evilness" of human nature may lie at the heart of genocide. Rather, complex psychological mindsets and behavioral clusters operate according to their own "rationality." These may entail acts of humiliation as a response to fear of humiliation -- or, more precisely, to an imagined fear of future humiliations, based on past ones. Accordingly, genocide's perpetrators may be drawn not only from elites, but also from a recently risen underclass exhibiting a complex web of features, sometimes labeled as an "inferiority complex." These dynamics are relevant not only for genocide, but also for global terrorism and thus represent an important field of inquiry not only locally but also for global human security. See more on www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin02.php.