Social Reproduction and Critical Subjectification Processes. the Two Faces of Shame

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Lorenzo BRUNI, Univesrità di Perugia, Italy
The aim of this paper is twofold: - to mark an original sociological way of access to the study of shame; - to show in which way shame could be related to an ambivalent social outcome, a conservative one, legitimising dominant relations and values, and an amancipative one, leading to a successfull resubjectification process.

The main theoretical hipotesis of this work is about the distinction between two forms of shame: "vergogna del me" ("Me shame") and "vergogna dell’io" ("I shame"). The hipotesis will be deveolped around the idea that shame is bounded to a double kind of signficativity: objective and subjective. Refferring to Mead’s social theory’s distinction between two componets of the Self, the author will argue that "vergogna del me" ("Me shame") points out a form of shame sociologically relevant, objectivated and socialized, that concern the stabilization of a given core of social significativity. "Me shame" is a sort of shame which is somehow necessary to guarantee social bond length; on the other hand, it could also define an oppressive crystallization of values and meanings. "Vergogna dell’io" ("I shame") points out the subjective dimension of shame. This second form of shame can be shortly defined such as a social compression of intersubjective sources of resubjectivation.
The author will then focus on a form of "vergogna dell’io" ("I shame") called "vergogna dell’io critica" ("critical I Shame"). Discussing a case study the author will try to emphasize the normative and emancipative role of shame along with the social introduction of this kind of emotion inside the partecipation to urban social movements in an eviction experience. The aim of the case study is not to offer a strictly empirical check, but to help showing how shame can be a sort of motive in questioning and criticizing tipical neoliberal ojectification and reification forms.