© 2018

Systemic Humiliation in America

Finding Dignity within Systems of Degradation

  • Daniel Rothbart

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Daniel Rothbart
    Pages 1-16
  3. Social Conflicts and the Politics of Emotions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Linda M. Hartling, Evelin G. Lindner
      Pages 19-51
    3. Karina V. Korostelina
      Pages 53-73
  4. Race, Violence and the Road to Justice

  5. Mental Health, Stigma and Dignity

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 239-246

About this book


This volume explores contemporary social conflict, focusing on a sort of violence that rarely receives coverage in the evening news. This violence occurs when powerful institutions seek to manipulate the thoughts of marginalized people—manufacturing their feelings and fostering a sense of inferiority—for the purpose of disciplinary control. Many American institutions strategically orchestrate this psychic violence through tactics of systemic humiliation. This book reveals how certain counter-measures, based in a commitment to human dignity and respect for every person’s inherent moral worth, can combat this violence. Rothbart and other contributors showcase various examples of this tug-of-war in the US, including the politics of race and class in the 2016 presidential campaign, the dehumanizing treatment of people with mental disabilities, and destructive parenting styles that foster cycles of humiliation and emotional pain. 


Shame degradation mortification exploitation conflict self-esteem power dynamics social forces systemic humiliation disgrace inferiority marginalization criminal justice system mental health social psychology

Editors and affiliations

  • Daniel Rothbart
    • 1
  1. 1.School for Conflict Analysis and ResolutionGeorge Mason UniversityArlington, VAUSA

About the editors

Daniel Rothbart is Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, USA. In addition to serving as Co-Director of the Program for the Prevention of Mass Violence, he chairs the Sudan Task Group, an organization that seeks to build long-term peace in Sudan, Africa.

Bibliographic information