Public shaming

The controversial Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot has on several occasions donated valuable sculptures of the form of a "Pillar of Shame". The donation of sculptures is the cornerstone of a world-embracing art manifestation: about once a year a Pillar of Shame will be set up to highlight a severe infringement against humanity. It is intended to produce a global network of 10 sculptures set up all over the world to highlight serious violations of the human rights, notably to mark a connection between crimes committed by political leaders using murder and violence to achieve their aims. The first Pillar of Shame was set up in Hong Kong in 1997 to commemorate the Chinese government's massacre on the Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. The second Pillar of Shame was erected in the Mexican village of Acteal where paramilitary groups – with the connivance of the Mexican government – killed 45 unarmed indigenous children, women and men, praying for peace on 22 December 1997. The third Pillar of Shame was exhibited in front of the Brazilian Parliament in the capital Brasilia on 17 April 2000 and set up for good on 1 May 2000, in Belém, capital of the northern state of Pará, where the military police killed 19 unarmed landless peasants on 17 April 1996 in connection with a land occupation. The fourth Pillar will be erected November 2000 in Berlin, Germany, in co-operation with survivors from the concentration camps.


A community's cultivated sense of personal shame – including signs on the lawns of paedophiles and "driving under the influence" bumper stickers on the cars of convicted drunk drivers – is a civil, and useful, form of social regulation and inculcation of personal responsibility. Public shaming is the promotion of "virtues" over "values" and a corrective for the contradiction of pluralism and uniform national identity.

Constrained by:
Having no shame
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies