Insults as Tools of Systemic Humiliation

  • Karina V. Korostelina


People, organizations, social groups, and even countries insult each other every day creating systemic humiliation. Many believe that people offend each other out of frustration, because of bad manners, or simply as a result of the satisfaction they gain from hurting other people. Insult thus is perceived as a common act that reflects frustration, aggressive tendencies in people, or exposes their impoliteness. However, not all insults are the same. Some insults target positive image, while others deny people’s rights. Some insults create space between insulted group and an insulter, while others blame outgroups for actions committed by the insulter. Some insults emphasize the insulter’s power over people, while others present insulted group as illegitimate to others. The chapter shows that people and groups use different kinds of insults depending upon the circumstances. Based on the three case studies—Little Rock, Arkansas; Fergusson, Missouri; and debate around agreement between the United States and Iran—the chapter shows how different forms of insult are employed as tools systemic humiliation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karina V. Korostelina
    • 1
  1. 1.School for Conflict Analysis and ResolutionGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA

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