Guilty of Shame in the Anthropocene

  • Tim JensenEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


This chapter asks how the key term Anthropocene rhetorically orients one toward ecological crisis and how it functions as a guide for collective belief and behavior. I argue that by attributing ecological abuse to humans as a species, the term activates an emotional framework of shame rather than guilt, which undermines rhetorical efforts to mobilize collective action aimed at fighting environmental harm. With guilt, culpability is fixed on a specific action; in shame, culpability is embedded in an attribute, which constrains one’s capacity to redress the wrong.


Emotional ecologies Guilt Shame Anthropocene Ideograph 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Writing, Literature, and FilmOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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