George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Systemic Humiliation in America: Finding Dignity within Systems of Degradation

by Daniel Rothbart

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  • Pages: 246
  • Published Date: March 31, 2018
  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • ISBN: 9783319706788


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.