Medium 9781782200291

Shame and Humiliation

Views: 956
Ratings: (0)

Shame and Humiliation aims at exploring a sub-set of universal emotions that are usually labelled as "negative" because of the sense of unease that they generate when we experience them and the tenacity with which we try to avoid them. They can thus becoming powerful instruments in the "power games" of our species, making their mark in both well-intentioned education as well as in merciless relations of oppression. Universal as they may be, though, these emotions are experienced and displayed in varied ways according to the mandates of different cultures and the vicissitudes of different socio-cultural strata.Shame and humiliation are therefore two key emotions that can cause deep suffering, as well as contribute to orient our social life. Some of the noblest and the most villainous acts are fueled by these emotions, from self-sacrifice to bloody revenge. The psychodynamics and the display in the relational world of these emotions are the subject of this book, which offers a friendly conversation between both disciplines through the discussions of the text of each author by the other two. Enlightening clinical cases and vignettes show destinies, transformations, and the manifestations in social and individual situations of both shame and humiliation.

List price: $26.99

Your Price: $21.59

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

9 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter One: Humiliation and Shame: Dynamics and Destinies

ePub

CHAPTER ONE

Humiliation and shame: dynamics and destinies

Carlos Guillermo Bigliani

By way of an introduction: psychoanalytical and systemic approaches

This book and the meeting from which it originated represent an effort to build bridges between the different ways, both psychoanalytical and systemic, of thinking about the subject and its context, which can cross-fertilise each other. This requires an approach that does not treat the models as if they were religious dogma.

Freud had a mature relationship with his theories, going so far as to call his metapsychology (a name given to his theorisations over clinics) “our mythology”. Freud suggested to Ferenczi, a brilliant Hungarian analyst, that “you should not theorize. Theories should come to you unexpectedly, like an uninvited stranger” (Gribinski, 1994, p. 1013). But once the stranger comes in, he reorganises our perception. Winnicott says, “when I do my clinical work, I produce theories for my own good, and they have an influence on what I see and hear, as well as on what I do” (Winnicott, 1971, p. 20).

 

Chapter Two: Comment I

ePub

CHAPTER TWO

Comment I

Rodolfo Moguillansky

In order to present my commentary, I will divide the subjects tackled by Bigliani into different sections, detailed under the subheadings below.

Significances arising from the internal world and those instituted by interactions that include us

Psychoanalysis usually proposes an opposition between the psychoanalytic paradigm, focused on the study of significances arising from the internal world, and the systemic paradigm, which considers this world a black box and so focuses on the significances arising from the interactive network in which we are included.

My suggestion is that, although we cannot deny we emphasise different points, I do not believe our differences are immeasurable.

Our challenge is to be able to minimise the gap between our views and positions through our exchanges.

Immeasurability is mentioned in the philosophy of science (Feyerabend, 1970, 1999), in reference to the impossibility of comparing two theories because they do not share a common theoretical language.

 

Chapter Three: Comment II

ePub

CHAPTER THREE

Comment II

Carlos E. Sluzki

 

With a broad pallet of referents and nuances, Bigliani explores in his core chapter many issues, some with a light touch and some more deeply. He takes us on a journey to Freud's family, then to explore anti-Semitism as well as bullying, and finally to share several clinical vignettes—many of them so appealing that they leave us wishing for more. The whole chapter offers us an enlightening introduction to the central subject of this book.

Rather than commenting on many aspects of his discussion, I yield to the temptation of discussing one specific component of the scenario where shame and humiliation takes place. I will also expand a point that he touches on only indirectly, through commentaries such as the one focused on the function of the gaze of the third party. In fact, my comments will be centred on the witness, a character who, while less recognised, is a key participant in the plots where shame and humiliation are embedded.

The central dramatic function of the witness is to attest to, and, hence, to give form to, the plot of an event, fixing it in time, in space, and in the narrative sequence.

 

Chapter Four: Humiliation, Shame, and Associated Social Emotions: A Systemic Approach and a Guide for its Transformation

ePub

CHAPTER FOUR

Humiliation, shame, and associated social emotions: a systemic approach and a guide for its transformation

Carlos E. Sluzki

A struggling composer living in a minuscule, dark tenement apartment with his wife and his ailing father, barely surviving on the tips he earns while playing the piano in a dingy bar, has a chance to submit a symphonic piece of his own to the legendarily temperamental conductor of the city's prestigious philharmonic orchestra. To his surprise, the director, after studying the score, informs him that not only will he première his composition with the city's orchestra, but that he would like the composer to conduct his own piece as part of a full gala concert otherwise led by the orchestra's regular conductor. Overjoyed, the young composer runs home and shares the good news with his wife and father, filled with joy: success is within his reach.

The day of the concert has arrived. As they are leaving their apartment, a good friend of theirs who is escorting them to the opera house reminds the man to take with him the tailcoat that, as director of his piece, the composer is supposed to wear in a gala concert. The composer looks at his friend dumbfounded: he hasn't even thought of that. He is overcome with despair until his wife, her face beaming with relief, remembers that a few days ago she saw a tailcoat in the display window of a nearby Salvation Army clothing store.

 

Chapter Five: Comment III

ePub

CHAPTER FIVE

Comment III

Carlos Guillermo Bigliani

Sluzki reminds us that living in society requires the construction of an identity characterised, among other things, by a selection of behaviours that should avoid the emergence of unpleasant social emotions in the subject and in others, and should maximise instead the emergence of pleasant social emotions.

In this context (which might evoke the dynamics of pleasure-displeasure described by psychoanalysis), Carlos asks us—in an endnote—to reflect on the notion of the social construction of the “self” (Mead, 1982) and on its corollary, labelling theory. This theory deals with the impact of negative descriptive prophesies foretold by others on the construction of the subjects’ identities.

It is worth remembering, at this point, that, to Aulagnier, a close follower of Freud, the path to identity is a continual process influenced by all meaningful bonds that persists throughout life. In her view, the ego is constituted by a number of identifications, which are a product of the statements made by significant others, and also of the representations offered by the gaze these others propose to the child's ego, thus consolidating his identifying construction1 (cf. Hornstein, 2008, pp. 29–75).

 

Chapter Six: Comment IV

ePub

CHAPTER SIX

Comment IV

Rodolfo Moguillansky

As Guillermo Bigliani has done, now it is my turn to elaborate on psychoanalysis and, in doing so, I will intend to provide a counterpoint to Carlos Sluzki's systemic approach. While never attempting to conceal differences, in this book we wish to build bridges between agreements and disagreements, composing a canon where all voices are clearly heard.

It is also my purpose to shed light on some “aporias” at the point where psychoanalysis and the systemic approach intersect, and also between hypotheses that seek the origin of meanings in the intrapsychic and those which find it in interaction. I use the Greek word aporia because various theories have caused the elaboration of some unfortunate declarations that make mutual enrichment of the models impossible. This difference generates two contradictory paradigms: psychoanalytic and systemic.

I believe that psychoanalysis cannot afford to ignore the intelligent and sharp contributions of one of the most interesting thinkers of the twentieth century, Gregory Bateson, one of the creators of systemic developments, and of some of his brilliant followers, Sluzki included. Neither do I believe that a concept that allows us to understand what is human should leave out the contributions of psychoanalysis to the “psychic reality” of each subject. This would be viewing it as a “black box” about which we know nothing.

 

Chapter Seven: Shame, Humiliation, and the Hero

ePub

CHAPTER SEVEN

Shame, humiliation, and the hero

Rodolfo Moguillansky

What was missing for Utopia to vanquish reality? What defeated Utopia? Why, with the pedantic superiority of converts, do many of those who were on our side, betray Utopia? Am I writing of causes or of effects? Am I writing of effects and not describing causes? Am I writing of causes and not describing effects? I am writing about the history of a lack, not about the lack of history.

(Rivera, 1993, p. 57)

The truth, so simple and yet so terrifying, is that people who in normal conditions might have perhaps dreamed of crimes but never have fostered the intention of committing them, adopted in conditions of complete tolerance of law and society an outrageously criminal behaviour.

(Arendt, 1951, p. 181)

Introduction

Shame and humiliation are human emotions that play an important role in the relationship a subject has with himself as well as with others. They play a role in the adjustment each one of us makes to his self-esteem and to the assessments we feel we receive from the human community we are part of and with which we interact.

 

Chapter Eight: Comment V

ePub

CHAPTER EIGHT

Comment V

Carlos Guillermo Bigliani

Rodolfo Moguillansky begins his chapter with a beautiful introduction in which he clearly, cleverly, and didactically summarises the theoretical bases of psychoanalysis. He is especially adept at concepts that are not the easiest to explain and that he later uses to typify humiliation and shame.

Thus, he describes shame as affecting the ego according to the judgement of attribution (having or lacking an attribute), an issue he sets “this side of the pleasure principle”. For humiliation, in turn, the ego would be affected in its judgement of existence (being or not being in a given way), and its conflicts are set “beyond the pleasure principle”. In the case of humiliation, the ego would be affected by an affront caused by the power of another (or others) that results in its reification. In both humiliation and shame there is a distance from the ego ideal, although humiliation includes a narcissistic injury of the ego. (I wonder whether there is not a narcissistic injury in both cases.)

 

Chapter Nine: Comment VI

ePub

CHAPTER NINE

Comment VI

Carlos E. Sluzki

I must confess that during the past twenty-odd years I have had few opportunities to read scientific literature that was clearly rooted in psychoanalysis—an intellectual casualty of my dominant interest in the equally vast production in social psychiatry and systemic and social constructionist approaches. None the less, to my surprise, while exploring Moguillansky's chapter, in addition to the aesthetic pleasure provided by being immersed in an intelligent and well-written piece, I experienced a certain nostalgic saudades (Ah, the good times of my lost identity as a psychoanalyst! The lost joy, if not the relief, of seeing the world through such an elegant cosmogonic lens!) accompanied, alas, by a sense of distance, of loss of familiarity with that language that, like any other, contains a code that is partly public and partly private, loaded with conceptual echoes known only by those members inducted into and active in the guild.

Perhaps it is due to this distance that, during my first reading of that chapter, I had to struggle (again?) with the recursivity of constructs such as “observing ego” and “observed ego.” Among other conundrums, I was puzzled, for instance, by the question “Who observes the observer?” To be more personal: what happens, for instance, during those rare occasions in which I feel myself blushing—a tell-tale sign of shame—in a social context, while I am unable to uncover what that emotion is about, where it comes from, what scenario awakens it, in spite of my many years of introspection and assiduous occupancy of a psychoanalyst's couch? In other words, I explore my-self (I observe my ego? Or is my ego the one who observes, and in that case, does it observe itself?) but find myself unable to grasp what (unconscious?) rule I have violated by omission or commission in that context. In an effort to make sense of those types of experiences, I had to capitulate and acknowledge the construct of a compartmentalised self that operates with hidden or blocked parts, inaccessible—at least to me!—through introspection but sensitive to context, or even requiring context and witnesses. This theme is picked up later below.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000021157
Isbn
9781781812617
File size
1.1 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata