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Humiliation and the Inertia Effect: Implications for Understanding Violence and Compromise in Intractable Intergroup Conflicts

By Jeremy Ginges and Scott Atran


We investigated the influence of humiliation on inter-group conflict in three studies of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. We demonstrate that experienced humiliation produces an inertia effect; a tendency towards inaction that suppresses rebellious or violent action but which paradoxically also suppresses support for acts of inter-group compromise. In Study 1, Palestinians who felt more humiliated by the Israeli occupation were less likely to support suicide attacks against Israelis. In Study 2, priming Palestinians with a humiliating experience caused fewer expressions of joy when subsequently hearing about suicide attacks. In Study 3, Palestinians who felt more humiliated by peace deals were less likely to support those deals, while Israeli symbolic compromises that decreased feelings of humiliation increased support for the same deals. While the experience of humiliation does not seem to contribute to political violence, it does seem to suppress support for conflict resolutio

Topics:, [ SHS.PHIL.ACTION ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Philosophy/domain_shs.phil.action, [ SHS.PHIL.MIND ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Philosophy/domain_shs.phil.mind, [ SCCO.COGPSY ] Cognitive science/domain_scco.cogpsy, [ SCCO.PSYEMO ] Cognitive science/domain_scco.psyemo, [ SCCO.REASONNING ] Cognitive science/domain_scco.reasonning, [ SHS.ANTHRO-SE ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Social Anthropology and ethnology, [ SHS.SCIPO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Political science, [ SHS.SOCIO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Sociology
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:ijn_00505189v1

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