2011 | 2(3) | 163-186
Article title

SHAME AS A SOCIOLOGICAL CATEGORY. CHRISTIAN IMPLICATIONS (Wstyd w ujeciu socjologicznym. Inspiracje chrzescijanskie)

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The problem connected with an issue of emotions has currently become one of the key-approaches especially in microsociology. The above article constitutes a compressed presentation concerning views of the most prominent sociologists who adapted the notion of shame as well as its alternative: the notion of pride for the sociological purposes. The notion of shame is understood as a signal of disturbance or breach of the social bonds. In this context, it becomes a universal perspective and an analytical concept binding its social and individual aspects, thus making references to the works of Charles Cooley. The social character of shame allows to differentiate its two basic types: unconscious and conscious shame. The nature of the latter is a constructive one. The conscious shame allows the bonds to be rebuilt, whereas the unconscious one, both in the individual and social perspective possesses a destructive potential that generates aggression (shame/rage spiral). The problem lies in the fact that the unconscious shame occurs incomparably more often than its alternative because the societies of the Occident tend to taboo shame, so that ‘it's a shame to be ashamed' (Thomas).The understanding of shame as a supreme, universal emotion performing several functions has found a number of scientific confirmations. The aim of this article is to draw the attention of the reader that this particular interpretation has a deep theological justification. The article is an analysis of the Old Testament's text entitled The Fall, which depicts shame and sin as the main categories referring to the Christian human anthropology, and as the foundation of a human nature. The Confession is also an indication, how important the self-awareness of shame and the resistance of shame of the individual is towards its practice. The verbalization of the experience of shame/sin, which in a Christian tradition has a character of a public declaration, enables the transfer of the unconscious shame to the consciousness resulting in the appearance of a constructive psychological potential within an understanding of a suggested approach. Today, according to the Author, the popularity of social-networking websites is an expression of a need and search for unconscious and shameful essences, those which violate the social bonds. The anonymity of the Internet allows for the experiments involving shameful contents including the social mirror.
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  • Elzbieta Czykwin, Chrzescijanska Akademia Teologiczna w Warszawie, Wydzial Pedagogiczny (w organizacji), ul. Miodowa 21c 00-246 Warszawa, Poland
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