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Humiliation: And Other Essays on Honor, Social Discomfort, and Violence
How do we feel when our friend turns up with a holiday present and we have nothing ready to give in exchange? What lies behind our small social panics and the maneuvers we use, to avoid losing face? Recognizing how much we care about how others see us, this wise and witty book tackles the complex subject of humiliation and the emotions that keep us going as self-respecting ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published September 5th 1995 by Cornell University Press
(first published 1993)
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According to its Library of Congress call number, this is a book about psychology, subsection affection, feeling, emotion. This is a little misleading. Miller isn't a psychologist; most of his examples are drawn from literature, especially the Icelandic sagas, Dostoyevsky, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. But if you're put off by those sources, there's still a lot in here to enjoy. Much of the first chapter is about gift exchanges, both ancient and modern. Gift exchanges are bound up with ...more
Fascinating look at the interaction between shame, humiliation, gift-giving, violence, social attitudes/expectations, honour and emotion. The range of examples is vast and engaging, from the sagas to dinner invitations to homicides. I read this to accompany readings for university module that spent a week on medieval reconciliation and vengeance, and Humiliation was a wonderful theoretical accompaniment. Recommended for anyone whos interested in the topics indicated in the subtitle, no matter ...more
It's been a long time since I read an academic book like this, but Miller's approach--somwhere between anthropology, sociology, and literary critcism--was fascinating, and the first section on gift giving dort of changed the way I see human interaction. The writing is a bit dull and technical but the book as a whole covers a really nice range, even if the first section was my favorite.