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Evelin Lindner: The Role of Human Rights Ideals for Honor, Dignity, Shame, and Humiliation

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Published on Oct 31, 2011

"The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for Peace, Harmony, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness" 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, the article titled "How the Human Rights Ideal of Equal Dignity Separates Humiliation from Shame," written for the Journal of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies in 2007. Please see the first draft at www.humiliationstudies.org/documents/evelin/HowtheHumanRightsIdealof DignitySeparatesHumiliat.pdf .
Abstract: Usually, science, at least until recently, has been dominated by Western scholars. Therefore, much research is situated in Western cultural contexts. A Western scholar typically begins research within his or her own cultural setting and then makes some allowances for historic and cultural variations. In the case of research on emotions, the focus is usually on affect, feeling, emotion, script, character and personality, while larger cultural contexts and an analysis of historic periods in human history are less emphasized. Dialogue and bridge-building with other academic fields and other cultural realms are not easy to achieve even in today's increasingly connected world.
The author of this article has lived as a global citizen for more than thirty years (due to being born into a displaced family) and has thus acquired an understanding not just for one or two cultural realms, but for many. The result is that she paints a broad picture that includes historic and transcultural dimensions. In this article the usual approach is inversed: Larger cultural contexts as they were shaped throughout human history are used as a lens to understand emotions, with particular emphasis, in this article, on humiliation and shame. This is not to deny the importance of research on affect, feeling, emotion, script, character and personality, but to expand it.
Subsequent to the conclusion of the doctoral dissertation on humiliation in 2001, the author has expanded her studies, among others, in Europe, South East Asia, and the United States. She is currently building a theory of humiliation that is transcultural and transdisciplinary, entailing elements from anthropology, history, social philosophy, social psychology, sociology, and political science.
The central point of this article is that shame and humiliation are not a-historic emotional processes, but historical-cultural-social-emotional constructs that change over time. Humiliation began to separate out from the humility-shame-humiliation continuum around three hundred years ago, and there are two mutually excluding concepts of humiliation in use today around the world, one that is old, and one that is new.
See more on www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin02.php.

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