In This Review

Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict
Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict
By Evelin Lindner
Praeger Security International, 2006, 248 pp

This is an intensely frustrating book. The frequency of references to the consequences of humiliation, often accumulated over generations, in contemporary international conflict makes Lindner's topic an important and potentially fruitful one. Moreover, it is one that economics-mimicking approaches to international relations are likely to miss and is, accordingly, best served by approaches able to draw on psychology. Lindner is a social psychologist of considerable erudition, with deep knowledge of different cultures and fieldwork experience in many areas of conflict, particularly in Africa. She moves effortlessly between considerations of personal experiences of humiliation, many of them poignant, and their potential structural causes. Unfortunately, her book suffers from a discursive style and a determination to demonstrate how addressing issues of humiliation and dignity can fit in with the goals of the "human rights movement" and can lead to a new order based on human dignity rather than honor codes. Instead of watching out for how humiliation might be unnecessarily and inadvertently inflicted on others, with potentially destructive consequences, Lindner seems to aim to eliminate it altogether through some kind of global therapy session.