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Shame can be devastating for a person, because this feeling attacks the most vulnerable and existential part of the human character: dignity and social acceptance. Sociology has taught us that acts of humiliation stem from the desire to exercise power over the humiliated. This applies both to the female body and poverty: The objective is to further undermine the self-esteem of the humiliated party and “to put them in their rightful place” by subjecting them to specific rules of conduct and societal values. This lecture will describe social functions of shame and humiliation as forms of violence that guarantee the status quo of existing power structures and social hierarchies.
is a publicist and holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Vienna. Her research focuses on forms, causes and consequences of social inequality, especially in regard to poverty, employment and gender. For her academic work, she has been awarded the Theodor Körner Prize, the Bank Austria Research Prize, the Kurt Rothschild Prize and the Danubius Young Scientist Award.
In addition to her academic articles, her journalistic writings are regularly published by news outlets such as Die Zeit, Der Standard or Die Presse. Her 2018 nonfiction book In besserer Gesellschaft. Der selbstgerechte Blick auf die Anderen (Kremayr & Scheriau) closely examines the human superiority complex.