The Emotions Of Manners: Shame, Guilt And Embarrassment

1384 Words6 Pages
The Emotions of Manners: Shame, Guilt and Embarrassment In this essay I will have a closer look on three of the emotions connected to manners and social conduct: shame, guilt and embarrassment. As expressions the three are often used interchangeable, so first I will look at the differences and similarities of the three using examples, definitions and the results of a study on the characteristics of them. After that, I will put them in context of Cas Wouters’ paper “How civilizing processes continued: towards an informalization of manners and a third nature personality” which was published in The Sociological Review. I have chosen to omit the debate of shame-cultures versus guilt-cultures, and rather emphasize the repercussions these emotions have for the individual person. Guilt, shame and embarrassment If someone were to ask me the difference between the three emotions, I would probably answer the question with some examples. I would perhaps say something along the lines of: “Once I knocked over a drink at a party, subsequently I blushed and became embarrassed. On another occasion I promised my mother I would water her plants, but I forgot and they all died. Because of this, I felt guilty. While out on the town one night I got excessively drunk, threw up on my own shoes, made out with a random guy and flashed myself to the bartender in hope of getting a free drink. The next morning I woke up and felt ashamed.” These examples fit with the definitions one can find
Open Document