Humiliation can be exercised through wide range of possible acts, such as denigration of a child by a teacher in the presence of other students or mild forms of humiliation, for instance, speaking for those who can speak for themselves (Sayer, 2005, p. 161). The same author mentions a special type of humiliation, structural humiliation, which he explains by the presence of disparities of wealth, coupled with particular types of advertisements that humiliate the poor (Sayer, 2005, p. 161). It is necessary to mention that the term “structural humiliation” was introduced by Braithwaite, who mentioned financial inequality, “inequality of political power, racism, ageism, and patriarchy” as the factors that created “inegalitarian societies”, which were humiliating for citizens (Schlegel & Weisburd 6). Such societies as racist, sexist, ageist societies can be characterized by corresponding categories of structural inequality.
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The present paper analyses two cases that will show that structural humiliation can be a factor that engenders different types of crimes, white-collar crimes and street crimes included. The example of a white-collar crime caused by structural humiliation can be a cause célèbre of Enron. Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, the chief executives of Enron were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy (Barrionuevo, 2006, para. 1). The leading societal position of these people created their impression that power and exploitation were legitimate and this factor caused the crime (Schlegel & Weisburg, 1994, p. 6.).
As for an example of street crime caused by structural humiliation, an example of a crime caused by structural humiliation engendered by racism can be set. Let it be the case in Los Angeles where a gunman shot two people near a synagogue (The Associated Press, 2009, para. 1). There were no other motives of crime except racial prejudices.
Thus, the present paper shows that structural humiliation can be a cause of crimes. It can engender white-collar crimes and street crimes as well. Thus, measures should be taken to eliminate structural humiliation in contemporary society thus establishing peace in it.
Barrionuevo, A. (2006). Two Enron Chiefs Are Convicted in Fraud and Conspiracy Trial. New York Times. Web.
Sayer, R.A. (2005). The Moral Significance of Class. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Schlegel, K., & Weisburd D. (1994). White-Collar Crime Reconsidered. USA: UPNE.
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The Associated Press. (2009). 2 People Shot at Los Angeles Synagogue; Police Probing as Hate Crime. New York Daily News. Web.