Shame and Shaming in Premodern Societies

Peter N. Stearns

in Shame

Published by University of Illinois Press

Published in print September 2017 | ISBN: 9780252041402
Published online May 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780252050008 | DOI:
Shame and Shaming in Premodern Societies

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This chapter stresses the ubiquity of shame and shaming in premodern societies, with illustrations ranging from philosophical considerations (Confucius, the Greeks) to social rituals like the public stocks. Specific features, like honor-based shaming or the shame attached to certain groups, are linked to this general picture. Debates include a brief review of shame in small hunter-gatherer groups, where the emotion may have been less necessary than in agricultural communities, and the important discussion of shame v. guilt in Christianity. Later sections of the chapter explore the Western and the colonial American experiences in greater detail, including the increased use of shaming in the early modern centuries.

Keywords: honor; agricultural society; hunting and gathering; public stocks; Greek philosophy; Confucianism. Christianity; guilt; charivaris,colonial America; Britain; women; childrearing; family; crime; punishment; schools; China; nudity; tashir; civilizing process; racism; patriarchy; Hinduism; samurai; blushing; privacy

Chapter.  16728 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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