Shame, Guilt, and Punishment
AbstractDrawing on Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and on his lecture on the Punitive Societies as well as on affect theories, this text tries to analyze a surprising return to shame as a paradigm for punishment. In this context, shame and guilt are both seen not so much as real emotions occurring within the soul of a subject, but as dispositives or affective arrangements that seek different ways to regulate and modulate the feelings of justice and injustice within a society. Excessive shaming, which does not fit well in Foucault’s narrative of a development towards more subtle forms of punishment, will be understood as a (somewhat problematic) form of resistance against the subtleties of control. The text discusses this using the example of Electronic Monitoring and its history as a form of making shame invisible, hiding it as micro-political shame in an economy of guilt. Against this economy, excessive shame as punishment forms an aneconomic force that sets out to reset the rules of community and identity.
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