Shame As a Form of Alienation. a Critical Socio-Theoretical Approach

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:50
Oral Presentation
Lorenzo BRUNI, Università di Perugia, Italy
The aim of this paper is to draw a conceptual bridge between shame and alienation. These two phenomena could be associated referring to a common twofold root: they are, at the same time, social events, objectified and exteriorized, and individual events, linked to subjective experience. Both show then further ambivalences: they are necessary to create social bond stabilization, but at the same time they could point out the emergence of social pathologies; they are similar not only in their intersubjective genesis, but also in the social outcome. They could be overcame socially, passing through a reconfiguration of social relations, and not only by an individual determination of will.

To discuss about this similarity, the author focuses first on an original hipotesis about the distinction between two forms of shame. Refrerring to George Herbert Mead distinction between two components of the Self, the first is called "Vergogna del me" (“Me shame”), the latter "Vergogna dell’io" (“I shame”). In particular, “I shame” will be defined as a social compression of intersubjective recognitive sources of resubjectification.

If this kind of theoretical distinction is valid, next argumentative step will be about discussing how “I shame” hipotesis could be also interpretated as alienation. This interpretation will be developed mainly referring to Rahel Jaeggi’s theory of alienation. Jaeggi defines alienation as a sort of disturbance in individual reappropriation of sociality. “I shame” hipotesis and the Jaeggi’s definition of alienation seems to share a theoretical similarity. The conceptual bridge between shame and alienation sketched out through hipotesis about “I shame” could contribute to balance Jaeggi’s deficit in discussing social aspects of alienation and, at the same time, could help emphasizing the alienation side of shame.