The Privilege of Humiliation: The Effects of Social Roles and Norms on Immediate and Prolonged Aggression in Conflict

28 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2008

See all articles by Peter T. Coleman

Peter T. Coleman

Columbia University - Teachers' College

Katharina G. Kugler

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Jennifer S. Goldman

Columbia University - Teachers' College

Date Written: February 2, 2007

Abstract

Research on the psychology of humiliation has illustrated its central function in many intractable conflicts. Feelings of humiliation have been found to be among the strongest human emotions; they can permeate people's lives with an all-consuming intensity and are among the most potent forces creating rifts between people and groups. However, it is not merely the type of emotions that distinguishes tractable from intractable conflict, but rather differences in the social structures and processes that imbue them with meaning. Feelings of raw emotion are often experienced, acted on, and remembered in ways that are socially determined. Thus, emotional experiences are shaped by rules and norms that define what certain emotions mean, whether they are good or bad, and how people should respond to them. Similar emotions may be constructed and acted upon differently in distinct families, communities, and cultures. Communities entrenched in ongoing conflict may unwittingly encourage emotional experiences and expressions of the most extreme nature, thereby escalating and sustaining the conflict. This paper presents an experimental study on the effects of strong roles and norms on experiences of and reactions to humiliating encounters, part of a program of research on humiliation and intractability.

Suggested Citation

Coleman, Peter T. and Kugler, Katharina G. and Goldman, Jennifer S., The Privilege of Humiliation: The Effects of Social Roles and Norms on Immediate and Prolonged Aggression in Conflict (February 2, 2007). IACM 2007 Meetings Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1111629 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1111629

Peter T. Coleman (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Teachers' College ( email )

525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States

Katharina G. Kugler

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

Jennifer S. Goldman

Columbia University - Teachers' College ( email )

525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States

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