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Evelin Lindner: The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for War

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Published on Oct 31, 2011

"The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for War" is a video clip that was recorded on October 30, 2011, in Portland, Oregon, USA, by Linda Hartling, for the World Dignity University initiative.
Evelin Lindner's reflections derive from close to forty years of international experience, first as a clinical psychologist, then coupled with social psychological research on humiliation. Her four-year doctoral research project in social psychology was titled The Feeling of Being Humiliated: A Central Theme in Armed Conflicts. A Study of the Role of Humiliation in Somalia, and Rwanda/Burundi, Between the Warring Parties, and in Relation to Third Intervening Parties (2000, University of Oslo). See also the chapter titled "Emotion and Conflict: Why It Is Important to Understand How Emotions Affect Conflict and How Conflict Affects Emotions," in Deutsch, Morton, Coleman, Peter T. and Eric C. Marcus (Eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. (2nd ed.), Chapter Twelve, pp. 268-293, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006.
Introduction to Evelin Lindner's chapter: We have all experienced strong emotions related to conflict. Our emotions affect the conflicts in our lives and conflict, in turn, influences our emotions. This chapter begins with two brief examples, one international and one personal, to show the interaction between emotions and conflict. For the international example, let us look at World War II. Hitler was an isolated and alienated loner obsessed by the weakness of Germany during World War I and after. At some point, however, his obsessions began to resonate with the feelings of what was called in Germany "the little people" (die kleinen Leute, or the powerless). He offered a grand narrative of national humiliation and invited "the little people" to join in with the personal grievances they suffered due to the general political and economic misery. "The little people" occupied a distinctly subordinated position in Germany 's social hierarchy prior to Hitler's rise. They rallied to Hitler's cause because he provided them with a sense of importance. He was greeted as a savior, as a new kind of leader promising them love and unprecedented significance instead of insignificance. Only after World War II did they have to painfully recognize how he had abused their loyalty. As soon as he had enough popular support, Hitler built institutions that forced his manipulation on everybody, evoking noble feelings of loyalty and heroic resistance against humiliation, convincing the German people that the Aryan race was meant to lead and save the world. Hitler was an expert on feelings. Many Germans put such faith in Hitler that they followed him until 1945, even when it became clear that the situation was doomed. Intense loyalty and highly emotional participation in a collective obsession undercut even the most basic rational and ethical considerations. See more on www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin02.php.
See more on www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin02.php.

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