, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 273-275
Date: 27 Nov 2012

Julien A. Deonna, Raffaele Rodogno, Fabrice Teroni: In Defense of Shame. The Faces of an Emotion

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This book is devoted to an emotion—shame—and to the consideration of its meaning and ascribed values. Specifically, the authors argue against two common dogmas about shame, an emotion historically labelled as ‘negative’: (1) The social nature of shame, something they call “shame socialism,” and (2) The morally dubious character of shame, considered generally as “the ugly emotion.”

For the authors, there isn’t always necessarily a social context (even on a mental level) for the elicitation of shame, nor is it a negative or “bad” emotion. Instead, they affirm that shame has a very important role as a social cohesion force, that it contributes to self-knowledge (it is a self-evaluation emotion), to openness towards others (facilitating taking care of them) and to empathy. Finally, they defend the restorative, but not punitive, role of shame in justice.

Structurally, the book is divided into four parts. After a short and philosophical introduction, where they explain the notions used through ...