Normative Dimensions of Indignation
The research project “Normative Dimensions of Indignation” of Prof. Dr. Anne Reichold (head) and Dr. Carina Pape is located at the Department of Philosophy, Europa-Universität Flensburg.
The project considers the political dimensions of indignation as a
reaction to an experienced violation of norms. We focus on the analysis
of the conceptual and normative structure of expressions of
indignation. Through such explication they become accessible for
valuation and critique. Embedded in the normative structure’s analysis
the project explicates indignation’s capability of social
transformation, but also its limitations. We take into consideration
European protest movements, European reappraisal processes, social
transformations, and other reactions to experienced wrongs and
illustrate the transformational potential as well as the limitations of
indignation with European and non-European case studies. Expressions of indignation are not limited to an institutional setting
– they can take place in kitchens, schools, universities, on the
street, or in parliament. Public expressions of indignation therefor
may be a social corrective which arouses and increases debates of
society and spreads them through the media. Scattered expressions of
indignation concerning unjust conditions, missing normative standards,
or exclusions can be the starting point of social movements, as
happened increasingly in Europe in the past years. One might think of
the Spanish indignados or the Russian protest against election fraud.
On both sides indignation was used by the protesters and the ones they
protested against equally. The European and non-European case studies
serve to challenge the idea of Europe and also to explicate the
limitations of indignation and normative critique and their potential
for social transformation. Which normative and social structures are
mandatory to realize expressions of indignation? Which other normative
concepts like “dignity” or “honor” are mandatory for indignation? Which
alternatives exist to name wrongs and how are they related to the
reactive attitude of indignation? In which way is the political and
normative idea of Europe characterized by the normative grounds of
public indignation, the socially accepted norms, and the reactive
attitudes we experience in cases of disappointment? Is there a specific
European discourse of indignation and in which way can we reconstruct
universally valid norms?
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Riot on the Red Square, Moscow. The place the activists
stand upon is the historical Place of Execution.