The Politics of Shame is a Fundamental Tool in International Politics


The promotion of adverse publicity against a group, in order to extract concessions from that group, has many names. These include contrition chic, and, among Poles, the PEDAGOGIKA WSTYDU. The authors of this work openly refer to, in their own words, “the politics of shame”. (p. 106, pp. 109-110, p. 145). In addition, the authors refer to, in their own words, “name and shame”, on too many pages to mention individually. (For listing, see the index, pp. 245-246).

Author William E. Schulz describes the psychology behind the politics of shame, as he writes, “Naming and shaming is therefore both symbol and sign. It is a symbolic act that embodies judgment and seeks to associate the target with all that is reprehensible in the human character and human history.” (p. 39).

THE POLITICS OF SHAME AS A WEAPON AGAINST GOVERNMENTS

H. Richard Friman comments, “With the rising prominence of Amnesty International in the 1970s, human rights scholarship adopted the language of the ‘mobilization of shame’…” (p. 13).

Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm expands on the reality and power of name-and-shame strategies as he writes, “Academics and policymakers have devoted significant attention in recent years as to whether international courts’ naming, shaming, and sanction deter human rights abuses.” (p. 99). Author Dongwook Kim goes even further as he quips, “Over the past 35 years, human rights international nongovernmental organizations (international NGOs or INGOs) have extensively used “naming and shaming” for social change around the world.” (p. 61).

THE POLITICS OF SHAME USED AGAINST CORPORATIONS

Virginia Haufler comments, “One of the most prominent uses of name and shame strategies in recent decades has been international publicity about corporations that violate law, social norms, and industry ‘best practices’.” (p. 186). She adds that, “Naming and shaming or corporations has become an increasingly common tactic used by activist campaigns. They rely on an appeal to values and to perception of noncompliance with regularly requirements. Advocacy organizations adopt these tactics strategically…” (p. 198).

The name-and-shame tactic is especially effective when it can be framed in a way that plays on peoples’ emotions. Haufler describes the London-based Global Witness and its campaign against a diamond firm. She writes, “This was one of the most dramatic uses of a ‘name and shame’ strategy as part of an anticorporate campaign yet seen. The campaign used horrific images, such as photographs of brutalized child soldiers from Sierra Leone, to generate outrage and concern. They labeled rough diamonds from conflict zones ‘blood diamonds’…” (p. 185).

NATIONALISM AS A BARRIER TO THE SUCCESSFUL USE OF THE POLITICS OF SHAME

Nationalism stands in the way of the effectiveness of name-and-shame strategies. Not surprisingly, H. Richard Friman writes, “For public opinion to be mobilized transnationally into a credible threat of social ostracism, the influence of nationalist mobilization must be overcome.” (p. 12).

WHEN THE POLITICS OF SHAME IS THE MOST LIKELY TO BE EFFECTIVE

In examining the politicized instilling of shame, as a whole, H. Richard Friman concludes that, “The effectiveness of naming and shaming remains contested in the human rights literature. Conventional arguments posit that the more targets are capable of experiencing shame, are concerned about reputation, and are vulnerable to material sanction, the greater the effectiveness of naming and shaming strategies…The book affirms that public exposure can undermine reputation and lead the target to consider behavioral change. This reaction is particularly the case where the target has made extensive normative commitments in rhetoric, policy, and practice, and the accusers and accusations of noncompliance are seen by the target as peer-based and legitimate…Finally, the threat and implementation of material sanctions in support of public condemnation add to the pressure on targets.” (p. 209).

The politics of shame can especially be effective whenever the accuser can play on the collective consciences of the accused. Authors Joshua W. Busby and Kelly M. Greenhill (p. 115) point out that the intended target country is especially vulnerable when: It already has a long and abiding tradition in support of the norm, has already made a specific commitment in support of the action favored by the accusing party (weak actors), and has embraced policies in support of the norm.

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The reader who is interested in going beyond the contents of this book should consider how the politics of shame (PEDAGOGIKA WSTYDU) is skillfully being applied, especially in Holocaust-related matters, against Poland. See the first-posted comment under this review.

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THE POLITICS OF SHAME: UNSTATED IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SITUATION FACING POLAND

Ever since PiS had been freely elected by the Polish people, there has been a rather hysterical name-and-shame campaign, by both local and international leftists (a latter-day Targowica), to delegitimize this government. We see this almost every day, and the attacks are framed in terms of (what else?), violations of democracy and human rights.

Leftists are especially afraid of the ongoing rebirth of Polish patriotism, as it threatens their influence and power. In fact, Belgian Europarliament leader Guy Verhofstadt has recently (November 2017) leveled the scurrilous accusation that Polish Independence Day Parade marchers are Nazis. This is a guttural use of name and shame with a vengeance!

The PEDAGOGIKA WSTYDU has long been one of the main tools of the Holocaust Industry, most recently directed against Poland (Spring 2018). In fact, considering all the information presented in this review, I could easily write a major work about how influential Jews have long used the strategy of name and shame to further their own agendas at the expense of Poland.

Jan Peczkis

Source: Amazon – Customer Review, May 12, 2018.

 

Published with the author’s permission.

 

  • Title image:  Cover of  “Poland Dares to Speak Up!” by Piotr Jaroszynski, 2012.

 

Polish-Club-Online-PCO-logo-2, 2018.05.20.