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Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  89 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Should laws about sex and pornography be based on social conventions about what is disgusting? Should felons be required to display bumper stickers or wear T-shirts that announce their crimes? This powerful and elegantly written book, by one of America's most influential philosophers, presents a critique of the role that shame and disgust play in our individual and social ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published January 10th 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published 2004)
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Mar 12, 2010 DoctorM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone concerned with hierarchy and social controls
An excellent discussion of the ways in which shame and disgust are used as instruments of social control. Nussbaum argues that laws based on individual or social disgust, without evidence of some concrete harm, undermine both equality and democracy. She further argues that social controls based on shame or disgust (usually relative to the body) create categories of people who are seen (and who come to see themselves) as flawed and defective over and above any acts they may have committed. Moreov ...more
Josephine Ensign
Apr 05, 2014 Josephine Ensign rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book that covers a lot of territory in an intelligent and engaging way. I especially liked Nussbaum's exploration of shame and stigma related to poverty, specifically to the different ways in which we (Americans) have historically viewed (and dealt with) people who are living in poverty. For instance, she sees Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed as a good example of constructive shame and of an effective call to policy changes--of "the connection between human dignity and so ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Kony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a humanely critical look at disgust and shame -- their psychological roots, and their dark influence on civic/political life. Nussbaum suggests these emotions stem from obsessive fantasies of unattainable perfection/purity. Clinging to these false ideals, we create social hierarchies and stigmatize people on the bottom, projecting onto them our discomfort/denial regarding our own shortfalls. These groups serve, in our minds, as buffers against the vulnerable, animal nature we wish to den ...more
Ignacio Fernandez
Aug 14, 2012 Ignacio Fernandez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found an excellent reading for those who dig in social sciences. It' s a n acute sense of deep social control entangled with social construction.
How societies build up their own aesthetic scales based on our own politics of the body.
The author bring a narrative that any academic reader enjoy.

Jan 23, 2014 laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the only time i ever think martha nussbaum is anything special is every moment that i'm actually reading something she's written. gorgeous.
Kevin Clune
Jul 14, 2007 Kevin Clune rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate this book so much it's hard to articulate into words. Unfortunately, that's just what I had to do for a class in law school.
Jan 06, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could have picked a better book for a leisure read.
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Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School. She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She is the founder and ...more
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