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Terror’s Motor: How Shame and Humiliation Turn the Spiral of Violence
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the role of shame and humiliation as root causes of violence. The author focuses on violent far-right and Islamic extremism, but in order to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, even gang violence and criminality are investigated. Through an ethnographic approach with thick description, the thesis attempts to capture insights, experiences and knowledge in the form of personal narratives of a variety of people – police officers, youths, researchers, psychologists, ex-cons and social workers. The investigation explores shame and humiliation as pivotal factors for violent behaviour. The concept of retributive justice, prevalent in many prisons around the world and in popular understandings of morality, is shown to be counter-productive. This has far-reaching implications for both the penal system and approaches to preventing radicalisation. As an alternative, the author argues for an approach of fostering human dignity as the most effective strategy for the prevention of violence and radicalisation. Inspired by Immanuel Kant’s essay ”Perpetual Peace”, this is called the perpetual dignity approach. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
shame, humiliation, perpetual dignity, human rights, terrorism, radicalisation, extremism, violence, punishment
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-308443OAI: diva2:1049882
Educational program
Master Programme in Religion in Peace and Conflict
Available from: 2016-11-26 Created: 2016-11-25 Last updated: 2016-11-26Bibliographically approved

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