A social scientist with global affiliations, among others with Columbia University in New York, University of Oslo in Norway, and La Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris, Lindner takes us across history and into nations worldwide to show how emotion spurs hierarchies of domination and therefore causes subjugation, human rights violations, abuse, conflict, and fighting. She spotlights results ranging from the binding and subsequent deforming of Chinese women's feet, to periods of slavery, bondage, feudalism, apartheid, and other events across time. Related actions from political domination internationally, to spousal or child abuse on the homefront are addressed. Lindner looks at how widely divergent societies—from the Japan of Samurais to the Meso America of Aztecs, up to the modern Iraq at war—are driven by hierarchies of emotionally-fueled control with rigid domination.
Combining classic literature with emerging research, Lindner explains how similar dynamics are at work also in contemporary societies of the West, albeit more covert. What is still lacking, almost everywhere, is access to the full range of our emotions, together with the skills to regulate these emotions so that they become a liberating force in our lives, play a constructive role for productive, fair, and so-called "good conflict," and inform our institution building. Lindner concludes her book by laying out a road map for how to reduce domination and increase human dignity, both in our lives and in the world, by using the power of emotion to implement global systemic change.