Drawing on Norbert Elias’s writing and sociology of emotion literature, this study proposes viewing neoliberalization as a “civilizing process,” which is enabled by politics of shaming. By tracing two streams of protests triggered by neoliberal transformations—by farmers and schoolteachers—in the 1990s and how they were handled by the ruling elite publicly in the mass media, this article finds that, in post-Soviet and neoliberal Latvia, in moments of tension between the state and society, rule occurred through a politics of shaming that utilized three instruments: the neoliberal ideology of a good citizen, essentializing language, and dividing language. This article contributes to the post-Soviet studies’ scholarship, the growing body of scholarship that explores relationships between neoliberalization and emotions, as well as social movements literature.

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