The Situational Nature of Scorn and Stigma

The topic of stigma is covered by Theodore Dalrymple in Quadrant after he reads the first international bestselling crime novel, which was published in 1886.

Anthropologists used to divide societies into shame and guilt categories. The former depended on people’s public face to keep them in order, the latter on people’s internal sense of right and wrong. No doubt no pure forms of either exist in reality, though in my darker moments I sometimes wonder whether we have succeeded in creating a new type of society, one in which neither shame nor guilt are very much in evidence.

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