Anthropology and sociology of shame: reflections on books by N. Elias, H.-P. Duerr and R.E. Gergilov




civilization, modern, shame, guilt, cultural anthropology, historical sociology, N. Elias, G.-P. Duerr


The article analyzes the conclusions and provisions in a monograph written by the St Petersburg philosopher and sociologist R.E. Gergilov in 2016 and devoted to the problem of transformation of shame in the process of civilization. The paper reveals the continuity of Gergilov's concept in relation to the works of N. Elias and his opponent H.-P. Duerr which constitute the dichotomy of the traditional shame cultures and the duty-based moral practices in modernity. The author shows that historical anthropology and sociology represent different theories of multiple forms of modernity (multiple modernities), and this implies a different perusal of the heritage of the listed authors and different interpretations of the correlation between “shame societies” and a “civilized society”. The author concludes that the work of R.E. Gergilov is a productive response to the problems that arose from the controversy between Duerr and Elias and will be useful to sociologists who are engaged in assessing the level of bashfulness in modern society.

Author Biography

Boris V. Markov, St Petersburg University

  • St Petersburg State University, St Petersburg, Russia
    • Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Professor