Shame: a sociological perspective
Keywords:shame, status, stigma, age, gender, Scheler, Goffman, Simmel, Elias
AbstractThe article describes social characteristics of shame. Shame is primarily associated with individual’s innate and social traits such as age, gender, stigma and status that shape the type, frequency and intensity of shame. Life periods - childhood, youth and old age - often cause the identity crisis driven by shame as numerous competences of human are not properly developed and solid enough at the first stages, and partially or fully lost at the last stage. There are similarities and differences between males and females when experiencing and dealing with shame. Feelings of shame are often shaped by education and, inmany cases, social origin. Shame is directly linked to undesirable characteristics (called «stigma» by Goffman), various types of stigmatization, and its capacity to produce a sense of shame leading to identity crisis. What plays an important role is individual’s social status (refugee, retired person or just poverty) which is likely to cause feelings of shame.