Emotion and Conflict
How Human Rights Can Dignify Emotion and Help Us Wage Good Conflict
by Evelin Lindner
March 2009, 267pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37237-7
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37238-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

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.

Evelin Lindner is a transdisciplinary social scientist, covering the entire range from neuroscience to political science and philosophy. She holds two PhDs, one in medicine and the other in psychology. She is the founding president of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, a global network of academics and practitioners. Lindner lives and teaches globally, affiliated, among others, with Columbia University in New York, the University of Oslo, and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris. Lindner is the author of Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict, which was honored as a Choice 2007 Outstanding Academic Title and characterized as path-breaking.


"More than most books on emotions, Evelin Lindner's is both broad and passionate. It is a very strong and persuasive advocate for human dignity for all people, and not only well-grounded in science, but also in the highest moral values. It helps the reader to transform destructive conflict, and dignify his or her personal experiences."—Morton Deutsch
E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus, International Center of Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, Teachers College, Columbia University.

"I find Evelin Lindner's theories not only fascinating, but truly innovative in a field of research often pervaded by a certain rhetoric. Her text on the equation conflict=emotion, spotlights a subject that has been rarely explored, and never in such a wide perspective. Her work is very illuminating."—Emanuela C. Del Re
Professor, University La Sapienza of Rome (Italy)

"In the heavy seas of rational choice perspectives, Evelin Lindner's focus on emotions in conflict can be a lifeline."—Clark McCauley
Director, Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict University of Pennsylvania

"Evelin Lindner, scholar, activist and global citizen has proven, yet again, that she is committed to both research and action that helps to foster new public policies to promote egalization and create a peaceful and just world."—Maggie O'Neill
Professor of Social Policy and Criminolog
Loughborough University, United Kingdom

"This beautifully written book is an education in itself. Every page informs and challenges received modes of thinking and acting in many fields. The penetrating theme of humiliation illuminates the worlds that we think we know and experience. Lindner's command of an extensive literature and practice provides directions for a better life for all humankind."—S.M. Miller
Senior Fellow, Commonwealth Institute, Cambridge, MA

"With remarkable clarity and passion, Lindner not only delineates the role of emotions in conflict, but shows a pathway toward a world where positive emotions curb conflict. Lindner shows how shame--a useful emotion in binding people to communities and creating self-motivation to improve--can be abused as a tool of social control, turning into humiliation. The reaction to humiliation can be subservience, but in other conditions can turn to rage and violence. Only by replacing humiliation with dignity can people develop true self-control and build a social order based on human development. Lindner not only has a vision of a better world; she shows us how to get there."—Jack A. Goldstone
Hazel Professor of Public Policy
George Mason University

"Conflict is integral part of human life. This inevitablity of conflict raises one of the essential questions of our time: how to engage productively with conflict. Evelin Lindner manages to deal with this question in a way that makes her new book a 'must-read'. Her scholarly, and yet accessible text brings together thinking on human rights, humiliation, emotions and the 'good conflict'. In 2008 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reaches the age of 60: Lindner's book is a precious contribution to thcelebration of this remarkable anniversary."—Cees J. Hamelink
Professor of Globalization, Human Rights and Public Health
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

"A timely and compelling book! In a world fraught with violence and humiliation, Evelin Lindner shows a positive way out -- and documents the research to back up her claims."—Daniel L. Shapiro Ph.D.
Director, Harvard International Negotiation Initiative

"Evelin Lindner's work is ground-breaking and needs to be shared with and integrated into the work of international practitioners working in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She doesn't just add a new dimension, she provides a brand new lens through which to view conflict, it causes, its manifestations, and its hoped-for transformation toward a world of peace and justice."—Gay Rosenblum-Kumar
Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer
United Nations, New York

"It is rare that I pick up a book of this size and this style and can't put it down. I read it through in seven hours during the night, because it was so exciting, stimulating and refreshing. I felt that this author had been through a lot of thinking and managed to systematize our history when it comes down to emotionality and conflict in such an exciting and vivid manner, that it was easy to follow and at the same time gave me a mirror for my own culture. Evelin Lindner is a Jean d'Arc of our time and her books are like torches that can ignite our inner flame.' "—Ragnhild Nilsen
renowned Norwegian business consultant, lecturer, fair trade activist, and author of fourteen books in psychology and self-development

"Just when we needed it most, Evelin Lindner’s book charts a new pathway through today’s age of tumultuous global change. Building on scholarship that cuts across social, cultural, and national boundaries, Lindner vividly describes the emotional geography of conflict that decimates lives, communities, and entire societies. She demystifies the operations of emotions that trigger destructive human behavior, not only offering a new framework for action, but also a vision of sustainable interaction. In a time of uncertainty and insecurity, Lindner’s brilliant book offers a powerful yet practical message of healing and hope."—Linda Hartling, Ph.D.
Director, Human Dignity & Humiliation Studies
Wellesley College

"In her book Emotion and Conflict Evelin Lindner, deeply committed to equal human dignity, provides a far-sighted vision of how we can regulate emotions and 'invent' new ways, attitudes and behaviours. How can we shape our future? We cannot remain anymore as silent spectators. On the contrary, we must be active and participatory citizens, aware that there are no challenges and threats beyond the human creative distinctive capacity. It is not only a matter of correct diagnosis but of timely treatment. The author not only shows the objectives to achieve but how to reach them through a culture of caring and sharing. A culture of peace. This book is particularly relevant now as the crisis we are living can lead to the radical changes that are indispensable for the great transition from force to word."—Federico Mayor
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
former Minister of Education and Science of Spain
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