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Reports From the Field Editorial Note: This section of the Journal is devoted to reports by traumatologists who have experience in applying traumatology principles in the field and have a perspective to share that the Editors believe is valuable but are published as they are submitted. Like a letter to the editor, this means of communication assures that the authors are able to share their perspective quickly and unedited. As with all articles published in this Journal, the Editorial Board encourages responses from the readership. Humiliation - Trauma That Has Been Overlooked: An Analysis Based on Fieldwork in Germany, Rwanda / Burundi, and Somalia Dr. med. Evelin Gerda Lindner [*] University of Oslo What differentiates trauma from humiliation? This is one of the questions this article tries to answer. Trauma may occur without humiliation, as in the case of natural disaster, however, humiliation may be the core agent of trauma. Furthermore, this paper suggests that the role and significance of humiliation for traumatic experiences has long been overlooked by researchers and practitioners. The paper highlights the macro-historical backdrop for this neglect. It is the unfolding of human rights as opposed to more traditional honour codes at all levels of society both national and international. This change is a major force in making the category of trauma increasingly important, and in moving such practices as ‘breaking the will of the child,’ that were once legitimate and even prescribed, into the category of trauma. The paper also addresses the fact that social science is part of this transition and would benefit from making more visible how it is deeply interlinked with this process.
Humiliation: Trauma That Has Been Overlooked: An Analysis Based on Fieldwork in Germany, Rwanda / Burundi, and Somalia Introduction ‘Humiliating somebody is more than just harming or insulting somebody’ – peace researcher Johan Galtung wrote in 1999 in a personal letter: ‘To humiliate has to me a different, or more special connotation: it is basically psychological (if there is physical violence then it is to obtain the psychological violence). The wound, the trauma, is not physical but a deep wound in the psyche.’  Johan Galtung’s comment addresses a social-psychological research project currently being carried out at the University of Oslo whose aim is to better understand the notion of humiliation.  The interest in studying this issue was triggered by historians’ tendency to describe the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War (28th June 1919) as ‘humiliating’ for Germany (‘Schmach,’ ‘Schande’). It is widely argued that this humiliation ‘pre-programmed’ Germans for World War II.  The research entailed 43
fieldwork in Germany, Somalia and Rwanda and Burundi. 216 qualitative interviews were carried out, from 1998 to 1999 in Africa (in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland, in Kigali and other places in Rwanda, in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, in Nairobi in Kenya, and in Cairo in Egypt), and from 1997 to 2000 in Europe (in Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France, and in Belgium).  The central question for the research was: What is humiliation? What happens when people feel humiliated? What is it that they experience as humiliating? Under what conditions are those particular experiences defined as humiliating? What does humiliation lead to? Which particular perceptions of justice, honour, dignity, respect and self-respect are connected with the feeling of being humiliated? How is humiliation perceived and responded to in different cultures? What role does humiliation play in aggression? What can be done to overcome the violent consequences of humiliation? The word humiliation has an extremely complicated semantic field. The word humiliation is typically used both an act perpetrated by an actor and a feeling felt by a victim. An actor may humiliate another person intentionally or not (even helping may be perceived as humiliating), and the act of humiliation entails a painful downward push at its core, namely looking down, putting down, lowering, degrading, debasing, abasing, demeaning, belittling, subjugating, oppressing, tainting, besmirching, tarnishing, treating with contempt or disgust, bullying, mobbing, abusing, dishonouring, disgracing. The act of humiliation may be played out as short-term event or as long-term structure (in line with Galtung’s notion of structural violence). On the victims’ side, humiliation is a feeling that may be short-term or long-term. The victim may fight off a humiliating assault immediately, by aggressive retaliation, or may be affected by long-standing feelings of entrapment and depression, embarrassment or shame, that, in their extreme form may be so traumatic that they trigger processes such as dissociation.  This paper will address the issue of humiliation in its effects on the victim and probe its significance for creating a traumatic experience. The word humiliation will in this paper be used in the sense of the feelings endured by a victim. Humiliation is a concept that connects macro, meso and micro levels - ‘rogue states’ are perceived as agents of humiliation just as much as are ‘rogue individuals.’ In other words, if we want to find out more about humiliation then we have to envisage a journey through many disciplines, from basic research in psychology, for example on emotions, to large macro-political analyses that include anthropology, sociology, philosophy and political science. This paper claims that, to the degree that human rights take root, the significance of humiliation for the field of trauma increases, and the paper will attempt to explain why. The paper is organised in three parts that are preceded by a section on the current state-ofthe-art. The first part addresses the historic transition from honour societies to humanrights societies, the second part humiliation as a form of trauma, and the third section trauma and humiliation.
and studied the part played by ‘humiliated fury’ (Scheff 1997.  and serial murder. see also Nathanson. 1996 ). 1990 ).’ In many cases the term humiliation is not even differentiated from other concepts. 11). Greenfeld. 1996 ). Robert L. among others by Silvan S. The list of publications that explicitly use the term humiliation is comparatively short. literature and film illustrate humiliation. 1992 .  sports. for example. Hale addresses The Role of Humiliation and Embarrassment in Serial Murder ( Hale. and 1992 ( Barrett & Brooks. focuses on ressentiment and sees it’s dynamics at the heart of nationalism ( Greenfeld. Nathanson.  A few examples from history.  as well as war and violence. whose work is carried further by Donald L. 1987 ). William Ian Miller wrote a book entitled Humiliation and Other Essays on Honor. are often used exchangeably. 1994 ). 1961 ). 1992 ). Linda Hartling ( Hartling & Luchetta. sex and social attractiveness. W. . 1992 . Humiliation has furthermore been addressed in such fields as love. 1999 ) pioneered a quantitative questionnaire on humiliation (Humiliation Inventory). while Scheff and Retzinger extended their work from shame and rage to violence and Holocaust.Linder 45 The Current State-of-the-Art The notion of humiliation has not been studied as explicitly as such fields as ‘trauma. 1996 ). Nathanson. Smith. Cohen and Nisbett also examine an honour-based notion of humiliation ( Nisbett & Cohen. suggests that humiliation creates violence ( Gilligan.  Bloody Revenge by Scheff. In the field of psychology. Margalit’s work pertains to the significant literature in philosophy on ‘the politics of recognition. disgust and dissmell (Nathanson in a personal conversation. stimulated by Margalit’s The Decent Society ( Margalit.  James Gilligan.’ claiming that people who are not recognised suffer humiliation and that this leads to violence (see also Honneth. In 1997 the journal Social Research devoted a special issue to the topic of humiliation.  are grand works that analyse emotions within their sociological environment in an integrative way. and Violence. 1997 on related themes).  where he links humiliation to honour as understood in The Iliad or Icelandic sagas and explains that these concepts are still very much alive today. The Journal of Primary Prevention pioneered work on humiliation in 1991 ( Klein. though not as the only variable. 1991 ). Also Liah Greenfeld. Vogel documents ‘unforgivable humiliation’ as a core obstacle in couples’ treatment ( Vogel & Lazare. Tomkins (1962–1992). 1992 .  society and identity formation. and spread over very disparate thematic fields.  depression. 1996 ).  and Roots of Evil by Staub. Nathanson describes humiliation as a combination of three innate out of altogether nine affects. despite a common assumption that they are no longer relevant. Social Discomfort. thus addressing also humiliation. namely as a combination of shame. writing in the field of political science. 1st October1999.  Also relevant for the analysis of humiliation at the macro level is work on international relations. Humiliation and shame. Max Scheler set out these issues in his classic book Ressentiment ( Scheler. a psychiatrist.
in the Abstract of the article ‘Individualistic Humans . 1997 . Wong. we have to study PTSD (PostTraumatic Stress Disorder) that has at its core the understanding of stress and the consequences of stress. N. and iii) Brief Reactive Psychosis (APA. M.46 Humiliation As soon as we conceptualise humiliation as trauma. ii) Multiple Personality Disorder.  Their study suggests that all four techniques can be effective. Lazarus.’ This sentence reflects today’s attitude towards humiliation.  trauma in political situations.  trauma occurring a long time after the traumatic incident. wives of traumatised men. K. 1987  ). societal meaning structures? Klaus Holzkamp. Axis I disorders: i) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The Historic Transition From Honour Societies to Human-Rights Societies ‘Abasing human beings is illegitimate. perhaps even earlier. Appraisal and Coping. deplores ‘the metaphysical and moral naivety of psychologists’ that is ‘shown in the way they engage in a study of social phenomena without inquiring into the agentic-moral conditions which set the phenomena in place’ ( Wong. 1998 . in ‘On Doing Psychology Critically’ suggests that ‘Humans do not respond to external stimuli but to meaning structures which are generalized societal possibilities for action’ ( Holzkamp. it read: ‘Abasing human beings is unknown. Standard reading on stress psychology is Richard S. Posttraumatic stress is directly associated with three DSM-III-R. for example.  Trauma has been studied in a multitude of contexts.’ In the following I will try to show how social psychology might narrate change. Identity and Change). However. Abstract). Wong makes the point that psychology has the duty.’ What ‘common expressions’ are related to human action? Can the individual psyche be described as a partial aspect of more comprehensive historical.  trauma as the cause for becoming a perpetrator.  It has been found that preparedness for torture diminishes traumatic effects. and Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy (TFT).  Neuro-Linguistic Programming’s (NLP) Visual / Kinesthetic Disassociation (VKD).  Therapy of trauma is a wide field. There were periods in human history where this sentence read: ‘Abasing human beings is legitimate. It is similarly associated with the Axis II personality disorder Borderline Personality Disorder. They included TIR.  Francine Shapiro’s Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Michael argues that to date constructionist psychology has paid only ‘scant attention’ to the issue of change’ ( Michael. 1992 . Stress. 1998. Psychological Stress and the Coping Process and Lazarus & Folkman. Abstract of ‘The Epistemological-Moral Crisis of Psychology Re-Examined’). 1984 . trauma in war. this sentence can be de-constructed and revised to take account of different states of the human condition within historical time.  and secondary traumatisation (of others). 1966 . ‘defined as that of performing an act of collective remembrance through recounting the common expressions used in a social collective.Social Constructionism.  Charles Figley and Joyce Carbonell at Florida State University have recently studied several approaches in order to determine what the active ingredients are.’ And. and parents of traumatised children. .
which are themselves rooted in ideology’ ( Lane.’ This section began with the sentence ‘Abasing human beings is illegitimate. Lane reminds us that ideology is a ‘meaning structure’ and that ‘ideology is present in word meanings and in social institutions. 2000a . and that humankind is currently ‘returning’ to egalitarian nomadic structures. 2). Within a blood feud culture it may be honourable. In his book Getting to Peace. in order to reach a scientific knowledge of human behaviour through dialectical logic. The notion of humiliation links the concepts of honour and human rights in an informative and innovative way. It was here that she learned a lot about the role of humiliation and its significance for the key difference between the honour/blood feud scenario and the scenario associated with human rights. when studying it? ‘During the past two hundred years. These are together responsible for norms. namely in the form of the global information society.’ We may now ask: Which ‘ideology’ does this sentence express? Within which ‘meaning structures. activity. .Linder 47 S. affect and identity. without reference to gender. 1999 ) the anthropologist William Ury argues that the transition to hierarchy from the relatively egalitarian social structures of hunter-gatherer societies happened around ten thousand years ago. M. providing a framework for both ideologies and for the transition between them. Lane analyses the ‘presence of ideology in psychological categories. he argues. The contrary is true in a society where universal human rights are acknowledged: ‘healing’ humiliation means restoring the victim’s dignity by empathic dialogue. and in the World ( Ury. Transforming Conflict at Home. ethnicity or other ‘secondary’ criteria’ ( Lindner. and how do we avoid the ‘metaphysical and moral naivety of psychologists’ that Wong deplores.’ and in which ‘actor-networks’ is this sentence inscribed? Which ‘agentic-moral conditions’ set the phenomena of humiliation in place. entirely legitimate and even highly ‘compulsory’ to ‘heal’ humiliation by killing a targeted person. and finally reconciliation. at Work. is one aspect of this last transition. These shifts are commonly labelled as the transition from egalitarian hunter-gatherer culture to hierarchical agricultural societal structure and finally to today’s egalitarian knowledge society. the spread of the ideology of human rights has popularised the principle that all human beings should expect to receive respectful treatment solely on the grounds of their humanity. The concept of humiliation includes three elements. 1999 . T. that the egalitarian notion of human rights. which may be described as entering the cultural repertoire of humankind in three phases. sincere apology. with advances in technological and organisational capacity and shifts in the balance of power between humankind and nature and between human groups described by archaeologists and anthropologists such as Ury. with their acceptance of equal dignity for every human being. that it is easy to forget that they unfolded in reaction to a traditional honour culture. such as consciousness. approximately. These three phases may be seen as coinciding. especially in the West. and especially during the last half-century. The principles of human rights have become so all-pervading. The present author is familiar with many versions of traditional honour/blood feud strategies as a result of her work as a psychological counsellor in Egypt (1984-1991). Abstract). It may be hypothesised. and they imply values and expected social roles.
literally a ‘de-gradation. however. It saw pyramids of power evolve in many societies around the world. the verb ‘to humiliate’ cannot be used as ‘to humble’ anymore. 1993 .’ To ‘humble’ somebody may. in two ways. whereas to ‘humiliate’ is at some point defined as a painful experience. the idea of subjugation was extended to human beings. or prostrating oneself … The metaphoric underpinning of humiliate connected it more to humility and making humble than to what we now think of as humiliation’ ( Miller. The etymology of the word humiliation is a witness of the societal change described here. and this is more central to this paper.  At some point.’ ‘Nedverdigelse’ (Norwegian). striking down) seems to have entered the human cultural repertoire. The instrumentalisation of some human beings (the ‘slaves’) by others (the ‘masters’) was thus ‘invented’ and was added to the previous ‘invention’ of subjugating nature. ‘Er-niedrig-ung’ (German). However. A third elementary turning point in the sequence of social changes introduced human rights. Miller. 175. explains: ‘According to the Oxford English Dictionary the earliest recorded use of to humiliate meaning to mortify or to lower or to depress the dignity or self-respect of someone does not occur until 1757. putting down. 2001a . keeping down. the aristocracy. These hierarchies gave everybody a rank and a certain definition of honour attached to it. it did not end there: the surplus produced by agriculture supplied the material means for subjugating not just nature but also people. the idea of subjugating nature (or abasing. they did this by producing tools that helped them subjugate nature (it was still a limited subjugation that did not yet endanger ecological balance). During the third phase. thus launching the unlimited exploitation of natural resources that today’s environmentalists lament. Its usual sense prior to the mideighteenth century is more closely related to the physical act of bowing. 1993. however. under certain circumstances. . Abstract). orientational metaphor. 1999 .’ All these words are built on the same spatial. the building of hierarchical ‘civilisations’ that included the use of slavery. Human rights transform legitimate traditional practices into illegitimate abuses. It firstly went beyond the previously existing small-scale technology and gave rise to the digging stick and the plough. ‘For example.48 Humiliation During the first historic phase of hunting and gathering. 9). all mean ‘de-gradation. This order embodied what Osterkamp would call ‘a proven method of coming to terms with life under given power relations’ ( Osterkamp. The invention of agriculture. Etymology documents an interesting development. Conceptualised in this way hunter-gatherers were the first human beings to ‘introduce’ the strategy of ‘putting down’ into the cultural repertoire of humankind. in medieval and early modern Europe.’  In other words. a downward orientation. ‘a-baisse-ment’ (French). The era of hierarchical societies of masters and underlings lasted for the past ten thousand years and still lives on in some parts of the world. italics in original). this becomes ‘obsolete. In the next phase. the idea became widespread that subjugating human beings was illegitimate and morally wrong (see Lindner. a differentiation has taken place between ‘humbling’ and ‘humiliating. armed combat among members of the most ”honourable” class. be a beneficial process for this person. brought with it a profound change. At first the word humiliation entails only a spatial orientation.
Furthermore. 2000b .we can conclude that ‘honour humiliation’ entails roughly four variants. people accepted them and got on with their lives. A Tutsi learned that he could kill a Hutu at any time. ”how dare you make me less than I am?”)’ ( Smith. For the most part. In extreme cases where no road back to honour existed. 8). a system that reminded me of pre-World War Germany. In Rwanda Tutsi and moderate Hutu were the objects of an orchestrated campaign of genocide at the hands of extremist Hutu in 1994.” humiliation and violence were regarded as normal means of managing tensions. If we analyse in what ways humiliation is used within a traditional oppressive hierarchy where masters rule over underlings and everybody is convinced that this is how things should be . Violence did not have the strong connotation of ”violation” it has since acquired  ’ ( Lindner. it was not possible to accept defeat by an opponent one did not respect.’ The mechanism of humiliation presents itself in a fundamentally different way within a human-rights context. in other words exiling or killing them. Both.Linder 49 was a means of defending or enhancing family honour. My fieldwork in Rwanda 1999 brought me in contact with the long-standing hierarchical system in this region. However. now an international intellectual  : ‘A son of a Tutsi got the conviction that he is born to rule. The main point is that within ”honour societies. that he was above the servants. (”How dare you deprive me of my freedom?”.’ ‘Relegation humiliation’ is used to push an already low-ranking ‘underling’ even further down.as either sanctioned by God’s will or nature’s order . To quote the words of a Hutu from the North of Burundi. a ‘master’ uses ‘reinforcement humiliation’ to keep it in place.especially the core principle that all human beings are equally worthy of respect . Defeat in a duel lowered the loser’s rank in the scale of honour.has a dramatic effect upon the experience of humiliation. As soon as hierarchy is in place.’ The backdrop for such atrocities was in both cases a hierarchy thoroughly embedded in cultural and personal structures. a cowardly response to a challenge could mean that all honour was lost. 12). Once this revolution has occurred. . to bowing rules for inferiors in front of their superiors. The Holocaust and all genocides around the world are gruesome examples of the latter form of humiliation.” they cannot imagine how they can survive without being in power. while a son of a Hutu learned to be convinced that he was a servant. ‘Exclusion humiliation’ means excluding a party from the hierarchy altogether. therefore he learned to be polite and humble. 2000 . The latter may range from seating orders according to honour and rank. the casual blows and insults … that used to serve as a routine proclamation of the hierarchical status quo become transformed in the mind of the victim into an outrageous forced expulsion from the community of equals…. suicide was preferable.  in Germany the Holocaust victims were Jews and other ‘unwanted people. Small humiliations could be borne by those who had fought bravely. while a Tutsi was proud. but may also include brutal measures such as customary beatings or even killings to ‘remind underlings of their place.’ He added: ‘The concept of humiliation is related to tradition and culture: Tutsi are convinced that they are “born to rule.  A ‘master’ uses ‘conquest humiliation’ for subjugating formerly equal neighbours into inferiors. Germany and Rwanda were also scenes of brutal Holocausts. Dennis Smith writes in Organisations and Humiliation: Looking Beyond Elias: ‘The human rights revolution .
’ and thus ‘secure order.and how this may relate to humiliation (I do not want to disclose the name of my friend who confided in me): ‘I was born in the Burundian countryside in a Hutu family. already hurtful in an honour society where it is routinely used as habitual means to put people down or keep them down. People from the human-rights camp in the international community are dismayed by the practices of dictators who believe in honour codes. but at some point I learned that a Tutsi family had given the first cow as token for patronage [here my friend documents how he started understanding structural humiliation. Human rights do not abolish humiliation. In a human-rights context humiliation links up to the inner core of dignity of each person qua being born as a human being. because human rights place followers of the old code into direct confrontation with followers of the new code. political science. they intensify the experience. for example in South East Asia. not the Tutsi children. It was structural humiliation that I did not feel [anthropologists would describe this state-ofthe-world as ‘how-Burundians-lived’]. but they were only few. turned away and forced to kow-tow to authority. humiliation.’ the masters. and that it turns humiliation into a significant trauma. it illustrates how the concept of humiliation moves from being captured by anthropology. My father also had cows. International criticism of human rights abuses. When I grew up I did not notice that. we do not accept humiliation as a ”normal” mechanism built into the bone and muscle of society. and in their ‘right’ to ‘discipline’ their ‘underlings. to being described within sociology.50 Humiliation Smith continues: ‘In a human-rights society people still get scorned.  From ‘Reinforcement Humiliation’ to ‘Exclusion Humiliation’ This article claims that the above-described historic process is central to changes in the social identity of all human beings. may be opposed as breaches of Asian sovereignty in the name of alien Western values. and how the issue moved from anthropology to other fields. On the contrary. and as a child I believed they were ours. although my family had Tutsi friends and I played with their children.’ My friend continued his account: ‘I only slowly understood the inequality in this situation. that it deeply influences their definition of what is their core identity. In a human rights society.’ Regimes that gain from the old code are deeply reluctant to let it go. To illustrate this argument. and argue strongly in favour of keeping it. ignored. and acquires an explosive potential. Poor Tutsi were there. spat upon. and psychology . Instead. This scenario of change illuminates many problems that seem to bewitch today’s relations.’ . for example when my father asked me if I had money to buy a piece of land that my family always had worked on and that I had considered ours. I will quote an account that I received in 1999 because it demonstrates especially well the subtle transition. it was my mother who ground the flour. and the Tutsi were the ‘seigneurs.’ In other words. Humiliation is present whenever someone is made to feel fundamentally inferior and less worthy of consideration than others. it was Hutu children who fetched the water. becomes many times more hurtful when it occurs in a human-rights society. not the Tutsi women . I would like to present a witness account from Burundi (where a Tutsi elite traditionally rules over Hutu underlings).the list of the chores that were done by the Hutu serfs was long. for example psychology]. we reject its legitimacy.
Indeed. a French teacher. this is daily life in my home country!’  What happens to humiliation in this account? How does it express itself? How does it transform itself? The answer may read as follows: humiliation moves from ‘relegation humiliation’ that is comparably easy to accept to ‘exclusion humiliation’ . or bullying]. see Table 1 : . After having worked for five years at a school I one day came to work in the morning and was told that I was not listed as a teacher there anymore. It is absolutely necessary to take account of it in order to solve problems between conflict parties. but suddenly I was not the first in class anymore. Humiliation As the Core of Trauma I will in the following try to draw a continuum that maps out the transition from ‘pure’ trauma to trauma that is precisely traumatic because it is perceived as humiliation. I agree totally with your reflections.exclusion from humankind . who today take revenge on the Hutu. Micômbéro. he himself a very humiliated man! With him systematic torture of the worst kind started!’ Some months later my friend wrote to me: ‘Concerning your project on humiliation. clearly. saying that I was having meetings in the forest at night with students. Since we met. and whenever I made a mistake the teacher openly ridiculed me [at this point. who would have done a good job. as well as turning into a field for psychological research on trauma and stigmatisation.’ My friend carried on: ‘Later I became a teacher myself.’ Then my friend blended the psychological concept of humiliation into the domain of political science and history: ‘After independence there were elections and a very good and authentic Hutu president was elected. They kill them. I inquired and was told that I had a dossier at the secret service. push them into exile. by political scientists.I was too short!. the Hutu have experienced infantilisation for the past four centuries. but number eight or nine or ten. humiliation is the hard core of any conflict. I was a brilliant student. Again some time later kids would come to my house telling my people working in my house that they should tell me to leave this part of the city that was a Tutsi quarter.that destroys the inner core of identity of any human being who is met with this kind of humiliation. the Hima have been humiliated all their lives by the other Tutsi. I have not stopped thinking of it. I was in deep shock. Remember. and imprison them at all occasions. torture them. structural humiliation transformed into open humiliation and became visible as a political tool. for example. I now read everything with a lot of interest. All those who want to help the Burundians have to play on this theme.Linder 51 He resumed his report which now turned into a painful account: ‘Only later I was systematically humiliated in a way that made me suffer and at the same time be conscious of it: At school I was ridiculed when we were playing Volleyball . because I would make it “smell bad” [here we witness the start of the dehumanisation process that typically characterises societies in which genocidal killings are seen as a viable strategy]. for the case of Burundi. Humiliation. He was killed. a Hima (Pariah Tutsi) took over. to be studied.
a prisoner waiting for capital punishment. After the defeat in the so-called Ogaden war against Ethiopia in 1978 he systematically began humiliating and massacring his own people. when it occurs arbitrarily and no actor can be made responsible. In hierarchical societies ‘masters’ may generally be expected to believe that any abasement they inflict on underlings is ‘good for them. and the victim may even accept this lesson. In other cases. a flood. involving an actor. Their families may begin hating the kidnappers and those for whose cause they stand. but not humiliation. After a car accident the driver . 1990 ). may be expected to object to the views of the judge that this situation is to be described as necessary humbling. People who formerly were not part of any cycle of humiliation may thus. however. history shows that dictators may be loved and welcomed at first. The same dynamics may unfold at macro levels.52 Humiliation A natural disaster such as an earthquake. as did the Rwandan Hutu elite who lifted up formerly suppressed Hutu and aimed at creating a state in which Hutu could live with dignity. The Bible recounts how Job learned to ‘understand’ that God wanted to teach him humility. there is a good chance that it might feed itself.and although the hostages are arbitrary victims. the strategy of rulers who hope that civil war will help them stay in power: as soon as humiliation has started somewhere.may apologise to the traumatised victim. and the Bible demonstrates also that Job’s ‘success’ in the struggle not to reject God’s behaviour as gruesome humiliation but accept it as necessary humbling is exemplary for any true believer. victims may react differently and not accept that they are being rightfully humbled. just to bring humiliation over their followers later. humbly.’ while the supposedly ‘happy beneficiaries’ may violently object to this definition. but not humiliation. or draught brings trauma. After Barre’s downfall (1991) the whole country descended into complex cycles of mutual humiliation. indeed. which finally (1988) became victim to being bombed and killed in genocide-like assaults. marriage may develop into humiliating relationships ( Vogel et al. perhaps just too poor to pay a lawyer who could prove his innocence. An accident involving an actor may cause trauma. by accident. be drawn into it. then the Isaaq clan. in short into general chaos. rebels may kidnap people who are accidentally within their reach and treat them in a humiliating way . Hitler started his career as a ‘Robin Hood’ figure ( Lindner. A misfortune happening accidentally and involving an actor may bring trauma. and not the ‘real’ targets of the kidnappers.. and it may in addition mark the entry point into a humiliating relationship. A situation. Somalia enthusiastically welcomed Siad Barre in 1969. first the Majerteen clan. For example. may evolve in such a way that humiliation develops over time. poised to ‘rescue’ Germans and Germanness. The relationship between actor and victim may thus be characterised by trauma. but not necessarily humiliation. This is. Utter humiliation of neighbours and minorities. An actor may bring trauma on a person intentionally to teach this person humility. 2000c ). even genocide was the result in Hitler’s Germany and in Rwanda.who involuntarily caused the accident . for example. they will feel humiliated and develop resentment and hatred towards the kidnappers. Intimate relationships such as. .
At the micro level. Table 1: Trauma and Humiliation Trauma and Humiliation Trauma Without Humiliation Humiliation as Core of Trauma No Actor Actors are involved. where humiliation is a routine to maintain the ranking order: ‘My super-ordinates violate my honour routinely.’ As discussed above. 1983 ). . this principle permeated all levels of traditional hierarchical societies. This typically happens in the context of hierarchical honour societies. (4) An accident leads to a humiliating situation after some time. It becomes apparent that the right pole is introduced by human rights ideals that protect individual dignity and turn its violation into trauma. ranging from trauma that does not entail humiliation (left pole) to trauma that is traumatic precisely through the presence of humiliation (right pole).the aim was to teach children obedience in a hierarchy (see Miller. Table 1 lays out a spectrum that may be conceptualised. but not intending An actor intends to humiliate me to humiliate me. An actor may intentionally subject a victim to trauma in order to teach her that she is unworthy. (7) An actor wants to teach me my unworthiness in a context where this is not routine but illegitimate and violates by core of dignity (1) A natural disaster happens to me and I see no perpetrator (2) An accident happens to me and the perpetrator apoligises.Linder 53 An actor may bring trauma on a person intentionally to teach this person that she is unworthy. at least not initially (6) An actor wants to teach me unworthiness in a context where this is routine behavior and everybody does it. and also I defend my honour routinely by humiliating those under me. History books describe how duels were means to calibrate ranks in honourable ranking orders. ‘breaking the will’ of children was recommended as child rearing method . (3) An accident happens to me and the perpetrator treats me in an humiliating manner. and this person may perceive this as perfectly legitimate. and she may perceive this as an illegitimate violation. This happens typically in a democratic society that is built on human rights principles where citizens expect to be treated with respect as an equal among equals.
Conclusion The historic social change described in this paper has deeply affected the world. Rebels arbitrarily kidnap people. torture. and human rights institutes are in the process of becoming 'respectable' parts of universities (the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights in Oslo joined the faculty of law in 1999). maintaining 'order' in a state. is hotly criticised by peace research institutes around the world. at times. not least. squarely rejected by today's experts. Almost every academic field. and not hovering above it . by. and learn that natural science itself does not necessarily claim to have all the answers. especially. dictators. A humble acceptance of the fact that academia cannot escape being part of its historic and . so as to increase clarity. while 'Subaltern Studies.' or the intricate crossroads between them.' once prescribed by highly regarded experts on child rearing as necessary strategy (Miller. for example.' Academia is not untouched by macro-historical change. Scientists. apologises. Chege. humble acceptance of the fact that academia is part of the world. humility among academic scholars. and they lend their voice to either the 'old times' or the 'new times. are participants in a world that is undergoing this longterm historic transition. instead of respecting their human rights.54 Humiliation A car Earthquate. accident. at the micro level of psychology. has turned into a revolting. overdoing statistical analysis. Some cases breaking the of Mobbing will of marriage. sophistication.' describes. and bullying. Especially psychology. It may be beneficial to make this underlying effort more visible. how academia paved the way for genocide in Rwanda. Humility may be called for (not humiliation!). At the macro level. Duels. in his article 'Africa's murderous professors. 'breaking the will of the child. try to locate and re-establish a 'voice' or collective locus of agency for the less privileged. Equally. also academic fields.' on the other side. truthfulness of academic research.as much as it may desire to 'rule' it from a supposedly 'objective' stance 'above. and monstrous practice. In short. what was regarded as 'necessary humbling' in former hierarchical and oppressive societies is today being viewed as traumatic violation of dignity as enshrined in the human rights principles. like other human beings. children. or. could perhaps benefit from humbleness. by torturing and killing unruly minorities. horrendous. in its historic struggle to join the 'discourse of the master' namely natural science. in other words. 1997. and. the driver flood. 1983). continuously struggles to define its place within a historical transition that turns what was formerly 'necessary humbling' into humiliating trauma. and. abominable. whether it acknowledges it or not.
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 ‘Dissociation refers to a compartmentalization of experience: elements of the experience are not integrated into a unitary whole. Lindner. . Lindner. lack of integration of traumatic memories seems to be the critical element that leads to the development of the complex biobehavioral change that we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 2000r . Lindner. 1998 . 6). 1995 . Intense arousal seems to interfere with proper information processing and the storage of information into narrative (explicit) memory. Lindner. Lindner. 2000d . 2000m . Lindner. Lindner. I extend my warmest thanks to all my informants in and from Africa. 1996 . 2000p . Lindner. A Study of the Role of Humiliation in Somalia. affective states or as behavioral reenactments… While dissociation may temporarily serve an adaptive function. This observation was first made by Pierre Janet. 2001b . Lindner. and in Relation to Third Intervening Parties. Lindner.no/~evelinl. but are stored in memory as isolated fragments and stored as sensory perceptions. The project is supported by the Norwegian Research Council and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2001e . Lindner. Psikologicheskii Zhurnal. 2000i . Lindner. (1989). I hope that at some point in the future I will be able to give back at least a fraction of all the support I received from them!  See. and would also like to thank the Institute of Psychology at the University of Oslo for hosting it. Lindner. Lindner. 2001a . Between the Warring Parties. 2001c . I am grateful for their support. for example. Znakov. Footnotes:  Quoted with his permission. 2000j . 2001d . Lindner.  Its title is The Feeling of Being Humiliated: A Central Theme in Armed Conflicts. (1994). V. Lindner.Linder 65 Zender. Lindner. Understanding of the situations of violence and humiliation of human dignity by the participants in the war in Afghanistan. 10. Lindner. K. 2000k . Lindner. Lindner. 2000l . 2000s . See project description on www. Lindner. 2000c . V. 20-27. 1999a . 2000 . 113-124. many of whom survive under the most difficult life circumstances. Lindner. 2000b .  See for manuscripts written in the course of this research. Voprosy-Psikhologii Jan-Feb. V. 1978 . and Norbert Elias. The humiliation of Iago. 2000n . F. 323-339. and is confirmed by a subsequent century of clinical and research data’ ( van der Kolk & Fisler. 2000h . V. 34. 2000g . Lindner. Lindner.  See also Lehmann. 1999b . in the long range. The comprehension of violence and humiliation situations by aggressive adolescents. Sebastian Haffner & Bateson. Studies in English Literature. Schlesinger. 2000f . 2000q . and Rwanda/Burundi. (1990).uio. 1996 . Znakov. 2000a . 2000e . 2000o . Lindner. Lindner. Lindner.
1993 . 1991a . Michela. 1990 . by. for example. Miller. 1993 . 1990 . 1989 .  See. 1987 . Vogel et al. horror. McLaughlin. 1988 . & Hepworth. Gilbert. 1996 . 1994 . for example. Masson. raped Bosnian and Croatian women Kozarickovacic. criticise the way of Westerners exploit war trauma. . 1999 . and Petty. 1988 . 1995 . and fly out again. for example. In some ethnic (sub)cultures it still is the official ideology. and so on. 1995 . or at least so we are told about the cultures of some urban black males. as I would call it. Steinberg. Patrick J. & van der Kolk. 1986 . Szajnberg. Gomez. 1997 . 1993 . Dybdahl. Fox. whether read as the Iliad. See also Rethinking the Trauma of War where Bracken. 1990 . 1991 . Kovalskys. 1996 . 1989 . 1997 . 1993 . Volkan. an Icelandic saga. Perry. Midiohouan. Baumeister. 1997 . Wood.  See. 1996 . Hardman.  See. Taylor. Markus. but its ethic survives in pockets of most all our lives. 1995 . 1991 .  See. Brown. Znakov. & Stillwell. Scheff. Znakov. 1996 .1998 . 1989 . & Cote. or seen as so many gangland.  Staub. Stadtwald. Baumeister. & Marusic. ‘flying into a disaster zone. Brossat. 1990b . And even among the suburban middle class the honor ethic is lived in high school or in the competitive rat race of certain professional cultures’ ( Miller. many novels. Wotman. Folnegovicsmalc. Chicano barrios. 1990 . for example.  Scheff. 1995 .  See Shay. for example. Cviic. 1996 . Miceli. Harris.  See. 1990 . see also Staub. 1994 . Znakov. 1994 . 1989 . for example. Urban. for example. Conte. Znakov. & Poggi. 1994 . Vachon. intergalactic. Luo. 1991 . Giordanobeech. see also Retzinger. This familiarity partially explains why stories of revenge play so well. 1997 . 1995 . Toles. Skrinjaric. 1993 . 1989 . 1995 . Schlesinger. 1993 . Scheff & Retzinger.  See. Moses. Baumeister. 1997 .  See. 1988 . & Kurokawa. & Zimmerman. Steinberg.  American Psychiatric Association. 1998 . Honor is not our official ideology. Kitayama. Kitayama.’  Chile Becker.  See. Aubut. 1990a . 1993 . Staub. letting children draw some pictures. Ignatieff. 1991b . Mckibben.. Lehmann. Hamlet. 9). & Gaus. & Heimann. Hale. 1992 . for example. Silver. Steinberg. Castillo. Peters. & Lira. 2000 . 1998 . Celia. or Clint Eastwood movies.  Pathological Narcissism and Serial Homicide: Review and Case Study Schlesinger. Markus. Staub. Staub.66 Humiliation  The theme of this book is ‘that we are more familiar with the culture of honor than we may like to admit. Herman. 1986 . Proulx.  See. Zender. 1996 . Mafiosi. for example. Scheff. Scheff.
1995 . 1997 . In TAT the client puts their attention on the emotional distress/trauma.. 1985 .  Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a systematic method of treating psychological distress using the energy meridians of the body. Gerbode. 1999 . Suozzi. 1993 . Motta. Bar-On. Baker & Kevorkian. Joseph. Westerink & Giarratano. Nadler. depression. trauma. 1989 . Westerink et al.  In Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) the client repeatedly reviews a traumatic incident. we must take a person-centered viewpoint. phobia. 1997b . 1996 . 1995 . 1997 . 1997 . panic. Nelson & Wright. Bar-On. & Gleitman. The client is asked to think about the problem (for example anxiety. 2000 ). Solomon et al.  See. 1990 . To understand why clients have to achieve an anamnesis in order to resolve past trauma. Kav Venaki. 2000 ). . 1994. Staub. from that viewpoint.. Bar-On. 2000 ). 2000 .. 1996. cognitive restructuring and self-control techniques into specific structured protocols that are modified to meet the unique needs of each client. move their eyes in various directions and repeat certain affirmations while tapping and thinking about the distressing emotion (see Friedman. See also Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) that is a systematic technique for reducing traumatic/emotional distress and allergies.D. 1996 . i. 1992 . Withuis. 1998 . 1997a . 1989 . 1989 . the client's viewpoint and. Mikulincer.. 1996 . asking about the origins of the problem and asking about where the problem is stored in one's body or life (see Friedman.  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) combines imaginal exposure.  See Basoglu et al. first going through it silently from beginning to end. Carbonell & Figley. 1999 . 2000 ). & Solomon.. Florian. Coffey. 1987 . Miltenburg & Singer. guilt. & Leiderman. Dane. 1988 . 1992 . van der Hart & Steele. then reporting what happened. Bar-On. Staub. Gabriel. Nadler. California. Then using 3 fingers with one hand the client applies very gentle pressure to 3 acupressure points near the eyes and the forehead while placing the other hand on the back of the head (acupressure "pose") Subsequent steps include making a positive statement about the problem. 1998 . explain what makes trauma traumatic’ ( Gerbode. McIntyre et al. rather than mere catharsis or coping. Bar-On. of the Institute for Research in Metapsychology in Menlo Park. for example. Rose. 1997 . Gerbode writes: ‘Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) operates on the principle that a permanent resolution of a case requires anamnesis (recovery of repressed memories). until a point of resolution or “end point” for that incident is achieved (see Friedman. count out loud.. Nadler & Ben Shushan. while the client is focused on the source of some emotional distress (see Friedman. etc. Usually the client is also asked to hum a tune.Linder 67  See Eitinger. 1996 . 1994. EMDR treatment also involves having the client focus on an external stimulus such as a) frequent back and forth finger movements b) alternating sound or c) handtapping.  See Manion et al.  See Balcom. M.e. Henry. 1999 . anger.. Volkan. TIR has been developed by Frank A.) and then tap several times in a precise sequence on specific acupuncture points at various places on the body. 2000 ).
en tant que cause. 1996 ) as legitimate. ceux-ci se vengent sur les Hutu. l’humiliation.Box 1094 Blindern N-0317 Oslo. +47 91789296 e. http://www. les poussent à l’exil. Norway Tel. Evelin Gerda Lindner [*] University of Oslo Institute of Psychology P.  Translated by the author from French: ‘A propos du projet sur l’humiliation. 1995 . de Lame. 1995 . les Hutu ont connu plus de quatre siècles d’infantilisation.68 Humiliation  Lakoff and Johnson (1988) describe orientational metaphors as up-down. Rakiya. HAPPY IS UP’ ( Lakoff & Johnson. on-off. Tous ceux qui veulent aider les Burundais doivent jouer sur ce thème.g.  See Des Forges & Human Rights Watch. in-out. 1995 . T. for example. Je suis tout à fait d’accord avec ta réflexion.’  See. 2000 . med. Ils les tuent. je l’ai lu avec beaucoup d’intérêt. but this use is indicated as an ‘obsolete’ use for today in the dictionary. 222).hrw.  See also Smith. Scherrer. the Malaysian Prime Minister.virginia. 1994 . Aujourd’hui.  He wishes to stay anonymous. 1980 . The interview was carried out in December 1998. 1994 .org/reports/1999/rwanda/). les Hima ont été humiliés toute leur vie par les autres Tutsi.edu/area-studies/subaltern/ssmap.no www. is one of the advocators of this view. 1999 (also on http://www. deep-shallow. See also Spivak’s seminal essay ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ ( Spivak.htm.  The word ‘humble’ is first recorded in English in the 13th century (see The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology by Hoad. Kamuka. In the 14th century ‘humble’ means ‘of lowly condition. Guichaoua. O'Halloran.no/~evelinl . honour-humiliation regards ‘structural violence’ ( Galtung. Humiliation clearly is ‘down. 1995 . 1997 .1986 .uio. front-back.’ ‘These spatial orientations arise from the fact that we have bodies of the sort we have and that they function as they do in our physical environment. Prunier. Ngakoutou. 1998 . effet ou moyen reste pour la plupart des conflits le noyau dur. les torturent. Gourevitch. 14.  Mohamad Mahathir. Reyntjens. Souviens-toi. pour le cas du Burundi. 1996 . 1994 . En effet. Il faut absolument en tenir compte pour résoudre les problèmes entre les partis au conflit. capitalisation in original).’ The verb ‘to humiliate’ meant ‘to humble’ in the 16th century. 1995 . F.uio. les emprisonnent à toutes les occasions.  To put it another way. Destexhe.. & African Rights.lindner@psykologi. Orientational metaphors give a concept a spatial environment: for example. central-peripheral.O. Dr. 1988 ). De Waal.lib.
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