alexa The S-Word is Taboo: Shame is Invisible in Modern Socie
ISSN: 2329-9126

Journal of General Practice
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Opinion Article

The S-Word is Taboo: Shame is Invisible in Modern Societies

Thomas Scheff1*Steve Mateo2

1Department of Sociology, UCSB, University of California, 3009 Lomita Road, Santa Barbara CA, USA

2Child Care Worker, Trinity Group Homes Inc, USA

Corresponding Author : Thomas Scheff
Department of Sociology, UCSB
University of California, 3009 Lomita Road
Santa Barbara CA, USA
Tel: (310) 513-2715
Email: [email protected]
Received: January 02, 2016 Accepted: January 04, 2016 Published: January 12, 2016
Citation: Scheff T (2016) The S-Word is Taboo: Shame is Invisible in Modern Societies. J Gen Practice 4:217. doi:10.4172/2329-9126.1000217
Copyright: © 2016 Scheff T. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Abstract

Great is truth, but still greater…is silence about truth. …simply not mentioning certain subjects… influences opinion much more effectively than …the most eloquent denunciations. (Aldous Huxley). This essay proposes that, like all other mammals, all human groups are built around shame. In the typical idea of shame in modern societies, it is seen as triggered by some particular cultural/personal stimulus (nakedness, for example). However, there is also a universal component, set in motion by threat to the social bond. If that is the case, we need to reclaim the many fields that so far have used alternate terms, such as honor, stigma, fear of rejection, disrespect, social pain, and so on. Although there is an actual literature on shame, it is dwarfed by the many studies that use other terms. The s-word, like the f-word, is usually taboo, both in the public and in publications. This essay describes at length five fields that hide their shame content, and also, more briefly, several more. The hiding of most shame studies is further evidence of how deeply shame is still taboo in modern societies.

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