Humiliation: And Other Essays on Honor, Social Discomfort, and Violence

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9780801481178: 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 social actors.

William Ian Miller writes astutely about a host of homely and seemingly banal social occasions and shows us what is buried behind them. In his view, our lives are permeated with sometimes merely uncomfortable, sometimes hair-raising rituals of shame and humiliation. Take the unwanted dinner invitation, the exchange of valentines in grade school, or the "diabolically ingenious invention of the bridal registry." Readers will have no trouble recognizing the social situations he finds indicative of our often perilous dealings with each other.

Educated as a literary critic and philologist, by profession a historian of medieval Iceland, by employment a law professor, Miller ranges comfortably beyond his areas of formal expertise to talk about emotions across time and culture. His scenarios are based on incidents from his own college town and from the Iceland of the sagas. He also makes incursions into the emotional worlds represented in the Middle English poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and in some of the works of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and others. Indeed, one theme that gradually becomes specific is how meaning travels from one culture to another. Ancient codes of honor, he insists, still function in contemporary American life.

Some of Miller's narratives are unsettling, and he acknowledges that a certain ironical misanthropy may run through his discussions. But he succeeds in cutting through a mountain of pretensions to entertain and enlighten us.

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From the Back Cover:

'In an illuminating and darkly intelligent study, William Miller...has revealed...humiliation as the closet dominatrix she is, an emotion whose power to discipline us makes the world go round...Miller makes his pages blaze and roar...by throwing another handful of hollow complacencies upon the fire....The five essays making up this book...are about the persistence of the norm of reciprocity in our daily lives, about the ways in which shame and envy and especially humiliation sustain 'cultures of honor' to this day.'-Speculum

From Kirkus Reviews:

From Vikings to valentines, crimes to dinner invitations, Miller (Law/University of Michigan) here explores the mercurial history of the emotions, attitudes, values, and behaviors associated with honor--its defense, loss, survival, and display- -drawing on evidence from the Greek epics and Icelandic sagas to contemporary horror movies. Miller (a self-described ``social constructionist'') traces the sources of such uncomfortable emotions as shame and humiliation to ancient and subtle codes of honor that still survive today. Contemporary exchanges, however banal, he says, involve the same issues of prestige, self-esteem, reciprocity, and violence as did those in primitive societies, although modern manifestations are often internalized and psychological. Miller finds reciprocity to be a central concept in humiliation, involving not only the appropriate responses to gifts and hospitality, however unwanted, but also--on the dark side--retribution, paying back, maintaining face, and shaming. The author offers useful and precise distinctions between shame and humiliation, as well as between the various strategies used to avoid them--assuming the mantle of humility or indifference, for instance, or embracing and enduring humiliation like Dostoyevsky's Underground Man. Miller's larger purpose seems to be to dispute the universality of emotional expression: Some emotions, he claims, produce ``predictable somatic displays'' that can lead to a belief in a universal vocabulary of emotional expression--but, in fact, these expressions should be interpreted according to the different periods and cultures in which they arise. Translating emotions over time and across cultures is Miller's major methodological challenge--and he meets it with ranging and learned references, a wry and unpretentious style, and a genuine respect for the power of those ancient, forgotten sources on which modern social exchange depends. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Descripción Cornell University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 social actors. William Ian Miller writes astutely about a host of homely and seemingly banal social occasions and shows us what is buried behind them. In his view, our lives are permeated with sometimes merely uncomfortable, sometimes hair-raising rituals of shame and humiliation. Take the unwanted dinner invitation, the exchange of valentines in grade school, or the diabolically ingenious invention of the bridal registry. Readers will have no trouble recognizing the social situations he finds indicative of our often perilous dealings with each other. Educated as a literary critic and philologist, by profession a historian of medieval Iceland, by employment a law professor, Miller ranges comfortably beyond his areas of formal expertise to talk about emotions across time and culture. His scenarios are based on incidents from his own college town and from the Iceland of the sagas. He also makes incursions into the emotional worlds represented in the Middle English poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and in some of the works of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and others. Indeed, one theme that gradually becomes specific is how meaning travels from one culture to another. Ancient codes of honor, he insists, still function in contemporary American life. Some of Miller s narratives are unsettling, and he acknowledges that a certain ironical misanthropy may run through his discussions. But he succeeds in cutting through a mountain of pretensions to entertain and enlighten us. Nº de ref. de la librería AAC9780801481178

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William Ian Miller
Editorial: Cornell University Press, United States (2000)
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Descripción Cornell University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 social actors. William Ian Miller writes astutely about a host of homely and seemingly banal social occasions and shows us what is buried behind them. In his view, our lives are permeated with sometimes merely uncomfortable, sometimes hair-raising rituals of shame and humiliation. Take the unwanted dinner invitation, the exchange of valentines in grade school, or the diabolically ingenious invention of the bridal registry. Readers will have no trouble recognizing the social situations he finds indicative of our often perilous dealings with each other. Educated as a literary critic and philologist, by profession a historian of medieval Iceland, by employment a law professor, Miller ranges comfortably beyond his areas of formal expertise to talk about emotions across time and culture. His scenarios are based on incidents from his own college town and from the Iceland of the sagas. He also makes incursions into the emotional worlds represented in the Middle English poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and in some of the works of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and others. Indeed, one theme that gradually becomes specific is how meaning travels from one culture to another. Ancient codes of honor, he insists, still function in contemporary American life. Some of Miller s narratives are unsettling, and he acknowledges that a certain ironical misanthropy may run through his discussions. But he succeeds in cutting through a mountain of pretensions to entertain and enlighten us. Nº de ref. de la librería AAC9780801481178

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Descripción Cornell University Press, 1995. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería IB-9780801481178

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Descripción Cornell University Press. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 288 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.8in.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 social actors. William Ian Miller writes astutely about a host of homely and seemingly banal social occasions and shows us what is buried behind them. In his view, our lives are permeated with sometimes merely uncomfortable, sometimes hair-raising rituals of shame and humiliation. Take the unwanted dinner invitation, the exchange of valentines in grade school, or the diabolically ingenious invention of the bridal registry. Readers will have no trouble recognizing the social situations he finds indicative of our often perilous dealings with each other. Educated as a literary critic and philologist, by profession a historian of medieval Iceland, by employment a law professor, Miller ranges comfortably beyond his areas of formal expertise to talk about emotions across time and culture. His scenarios are based on incidents from his own college town and from the Iceland of the sagas. He also makes incursions into the emotional worlds represented in the Middle English poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and in some of the works of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and others. Indeed, one theme that gradually becomes specific is how meaning travels from one culture to another. Ancient codes of honor, he insists, still function in contemporary American life. Some of Millers narratives are unsettling, and he acknowledges that a certain ironical misanthropy may run through his discussions. But he succeeds in cutting through a mountain of pretensions to entertain and enlighten us. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780801481178

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Descripción Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 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 lo.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 288 pages. 0.399. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780801481178

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