State Domination and the Psycho-Politics of Conflict : Power, Conflict and Humiliation book cover
1st Edition

State Domination and the Psycho-Politics of Conflict
Power, Conflict and Humiliation

ISBN 9781138362796
Published April 8, 2019 by Routledge
150 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book offers a detailed study of the psycho-politics of governmental manipulation, in which a vulnerable population is disciplined by contorting their sense of self-worth.

In many conflict settings, a nation’s government exerts its dominance over a marginalized population group through laws, policies and practices that foster stark inequality. This book shows how such domination comes in the form of systems of humiliation orchestrated by governmental forces. This thesis draws upon recent findings in social psychology, conflict analysis, and political sociology, with case studies of governmental directives, verdicts, policies, decisions and norms that, when enforced, foster debasement, disgrace or denigration. One case centers on the US immigration laws that target vulnerable population groups, while another focuses on the ethnic discrimination of the central government of Sudan against the Sudanese Africans. The book’s conclusion focuses on compassion-motivated practices that represent a counter-force to government-sponsored strategies of systemic humiliation. These are practices for building peace by professionals and non-professionals as a positive response to protracted violence.

This book will be of much interest to students of peace and conflict studies, sociology, psychology, ethics, philosophy and international relations.

Table of Contents


Part I: Governmental Powers

1. Good and Bad Aggression

2. Fields of Governmental Power 

3. The Pain of Humiliation

Part II: The Practices of Power

4. The Attrition of Unauthorized Immigrants

5. Erasure, Race and Criminal Justice

6. Symbolic Violence in Sudan With Adeeb Yousif

Part III: Systemic Compassion

7. Systemic Compassion in Conflict Resolution

8. Compassion in the Face of Genocide in Rwanda


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Daniel Rothbart is Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, USA. His book publications include Civilians and Modern War (co-edited, 2012), Violent Conflict and Peacebuilding (co-authored, 2012) and Systemic Humiliation in America (2018).


"Daniel Rothbart has provided a must-read for anyone examining the psycho-politics of governmental-sponsored violence and manipulation. This book shifts paradigms and provides new optics to understand the global intersection of power, humiliation, and the state."

Tony Gaskew, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, USA

"This timely and well-crafted book explores government-sponsored violence that creates humiliation as a means to achieve disciplinary control in populations. Thankfully Rothbart also leads us toward solutions to authoritarian humiliation by outlining practices that nurture the norm of compassion."

Fathali M. Moghaddam, Georgetown University, USA

"Using a creative mix of conflict analysis, neuroscience, social psychology, sociology, and political science, Daniel Rothbart presents a compelling portrayal of the ways that governments can subjugate and control population groups through ruthless humiliation. His analysis emerges from three case studies: self-deportation of Latino immigrants from the US, mass killings by Sudan’s central government, and genocide in Rwanda. In its lively prose, the book offers insight into pernicious governmental controls over vulnerable people."

Ronald E. Anderson , University of Minnesota, USA