Social Dimensions of Shame
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NSOC 3855
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
Defined as both a psychological condition and a form of control, shame, an eminently social affect, presents a powerful lens for the investigation of social reality. One of the central forces in socialization, shame operates in arenas ranging from family to religion, politics, and law, as a reaction to the disapproving eye of an important Other. We consider how shame and shaming organize and regulate even those cultures commonly seen as guilt cultures (modern, Western, ours). We examine the dynamics that cause shame to be seen as itself deeply shameful, in need of correction and concealment. Our goal is to understand shame and its effects, from conformity to violence, in order to position them as a force capable of restructuring our relations to ourselves, as bodily, historical, and political beings, and to our communities.