Research Agenda

The field of dignity/humiliation research is novel and a larger body of research has still to be built. Our aim is to avoid single interest scholarship, work transdisciplinary, and probe how even local micro-changes may be embedded within larger global changes. In our meetings we aim at creating a humiliation-free, collaborative learning environment characterized by mutual respect, mutual empathy, and openness to difference. The perspective of "appreciative enquiry" is a useful frame of our work.

Several areas of research may be identified. It seems that for the foreseeable future human groups will face the problems of managing the transition from coercive to creative cultures. This will be the case at every level from the family through to international relations and global business operations. Everybody - individuals, business communities, national and international institutions - deals with people and populations that find themselves at many different points in the transformation from rigid authoritarian hierarchies to flexible networks. It is a period of high risk and uncertainty. Cycles of humiliation may be intensified. It is important to understand the psychological and sociological mechanisms at work in this period of transition. Only then will it be possible to build sound foundations for peaceful cooperation. These challenges are faced by negotiators, peacekeepers, policymakers, professional practitioners and managers both locally and globally.

Many governments, business corporations, and international organizations furthermore have a global reach. This makes them vulnerable at many points to the conflicts and tensions generated by global inequality and the feelings surrounding them. Global society is undergoing a long-term process in which coercive hierarchies at every level - from colonialism to patriarchy - are being dismantled. The backlog of resentment created by those hierarchies finds expression in political movements and social protests that are often violent. Further resentment is caused when the promise of equal human rights meets the growing gap between rich and poor globally. Feelings of humiliation may undermine an otherwise benign thrust towards new creativity and equal dignity.

In the context of these transitions, many research questions and projects can be formulated. A broad Psychology and Theory of Humiliation has to be developed and deepened. Empirical investigation is urgently needed, both qualitatively and quantitatively, as, for example, through surveys and experiments.

See a summary of Lindner's theoretical reflections, as short narrative and short table, as well as executive summary and longer paper. It is important to note, that Lindner's work is designed to stimulate interest and by no means meant to dominate this group's research.

Please see our Research Team, our Research Projects, some Research Questions, some Research Reflections, see What Has Been Done? and a Reference List.




The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).