In print: Honor and Shame in Western History (publication March 30th, 2023)

This book seeks to bring comparative perspective to the idea that honor and shame are two fundamentally important and closely related concepts of human social experience with a diverse and important history. Both vital responses are rooted in the social existence of mankind – human life is embedded in social interaction, attribution of respect and contempt. The book addresses the relevance and manifold manifestations of honor and shame in Western History in three parts, covering concepts and challenges of honor and shame, honor and shame in traditional European societies and honor and shame in modernity. The contributions cover Western history from Greek and Roman times to the 19th century and they make evident that the drive to acquire and uphold honor and to scrupulously avoid shame have been of tremendous influence for the social makeup of past societies from the dawn of humankind on into the ‘postmodern’ world of social interaction. “Honor and Shame in Western History” brings together fourteen contributions of interdisciplinary scholars from Europe and North America on the topic. The book is suited for a broad audience interested in European social history and the history of emotions.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: – Honor and Shame: Concepts and Challenges

1. The Unwieldy Phenomenon of Honor
Dagmar Burkhart

2. Shame: A Social Emotion and Its Cultural Concepts in a Historical (European) Perspective
Jörg Wettlaufer

3. Zero-Sum Emotions and Shame-Honor Dynamics
Richard Landes

Part 2: Honor and Shame in Traditional European Societies

4. Honor-Shame Dynamics in Late Antiquity: Balance and Control
Jan Frode Hatlen

5. Gregory of Tours on Sichar and Chramnesind
Richard Landes

6. Better to die in honor than to live in shame? A comparative approach to the literary dynamics of honor and shame in French chanson de geste, romance and fabliau (12th-13th centuries)
Lisa Sancho

7. The Dynamics of Gender-specific Honor and Shame in the Middle Ages. The Nibelungenlied as example
Jutta Eming

8. The Emergence and Social Usage of Shaming Punishments in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries in Northwest European Cities
Jörg Wettlaufer

9. Christian Humility, Papal Humiliations. An Honor-and-Shame Criterion in the Church’s History Grand Narratives
Bénédicte Sère

Part 3: Honor and Shame in Modernity

10. Collective shame in the Modern World – The Case of Blasphemy Laws and Tolerant Sensibilities
David Nash

11. The Culture of American Dueling Under Attack: The 1856 Public Beating of an Abolitionist Massachusetts Senator by a South Carolina Congressman
Kenneth S. Greenberg

12. Brought up With Shame: Trans-Generational Perspectives on Disciplinary Correction in Finland During the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Satu Lidman

13. Plato, MeToo, the Honorable and the Others
Hege Dypedokk Johnsen

14. Shame, Modernity and Postmodernity in Britain
David Nash



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