`There is much that is fascinating here. Long-established experiments and conclusions are rubbished and reinterpreted, long-established assumptions and beliefs about emotions are soundly trounced, and generally a good going-over is delivered to the whole field... it is such a blockbuster that one can only reel backwards and tell anyone studying the subject that they would be crazy not to get it' - Self & Society This fascinating book overviews the psychology of the emotions in its broadest sense, tracing historical, social, cultural and biological themes and analyses. The contributors - some of the leading figures in the field - produce a new theoretical synthesis by drawing together these strands.
Chapter 4: Shame and Guilt in Early New England
Shame and Guilt in Early New England
Fifty years ago Ruth Benedict made this comparison of American life, past and present:
The early Puritans who settled in the United States tried to base their entire morality on guilt, and all psychiatrists know what trouble contemporary Americans have with their consciences. But shame is an increasingly heavy burden … and guilt is less extremely felt than in earlier generations. In the United States this is interpreted as a relaxation of morals, because we do not expect shame to do the heavy work of morality. We do not harness the acute personal chagrin which accompanies shame to our fundamental system of morality.1
Benedict was, of course, a distinguished anthropologist, not a historian. And ...