Humiliation: Feeling, social control, and the construction of identity

An admitted aim of torture is not only to extract information, instill fear, get sadistic pleasure, but also to humiliate the victim. Why? People have risked death in order to avoid humiliation. Why? What is the nature of humiliation such that both torturer and victim treat it as important? Yet, humiliation is also provoked by the trivia of everyday life; being ignored, slighted, patronized, or even being pitied or helped is something humiliating. How are these grave and apparently trivial humiliations linked? Our account attempts to explain the importance we attach to humiliation, as social fact and emotion, deadly or trivial; in doing so we will illuminate crucial aspects of the social construction of the self, of valued identity. Our goal will be to provide a cognitive, indeed a social, analysis of this phenomenon, by attempting to show that characteristics of the situations in which we would say someone is, or is not, humiliated will point out why a cognitive and social analysis is necessary. We shall find that being, and feeling, humiliated involves an assessment of a person's socially relevant capacities.

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Silver, Maury
Conte, Rosaria
Miceli, Maria
Poggi, Isabella
Blackwell,, Oxford , Regno Unito
Journal for the theory of social behaviour (Print) 16 (1986): 269–283. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5914.1986.tb00080.x
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Silver, Maury; Conte, Rosaria; Miceli, Maria; Poggi, Isabella/titolo:Humiliation: Feeling, social control, and the construction of identity/doi:10.1111/j.1468-5914.1986.tb00080.x/rivista:Journal for the theory of social behaviou
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Ritratto di rosaria.conte
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