i’ve been citing ross williams’ 2002 unpublished conference paper on shaming in email in a couple of my own papers – there’s not much in my area on this topic, so it looks as if i’m going to have to look into journals of psychology in order to get reports of any studies done in the area of group solidarity, and interpersonal alignment and positioning in the context of online groups.
i’ve asked ross whether i can post it here as a link for any others to follow up. whereas i’d have placed it in the list anthro resources page previously, it looks as if this has been moved down a rank to post-only status – hence i am announcing the link here: “The dynamics of shaming in an email discussion group”.
it’s in PDF form and is quite short so will download onto your desktop fairly quickly. members of netdynam in february 2002 will no doubt recall the discussion that the paper engendered at that time.
a short excerpt follows:
‘We are deeply sensitised to the occasions of shame, for ourselves and others, and the rules of etiquette and face-saving work to preserve our social systems against the disruptive effects of shame when the gap between embodied and ideal selves threatens to be revealed inadvertently. Conversely, the threat to reveal this gap and subject the other to shame is a powerful tool in expert hands; and we are all experts.
Threats to the public face can arise so swiftly and be handled so automatically that they pass in a moment, almost unnoticed, and only a careful record of gestures, glances, phrasing and vocal inflections allows us to interpret an interaction as an instance of social control based on shaming. In this paper I will analyse a shaming
interaction in an e-mail group, partly because it is inherently interesting to discover familiar group processes in a novel setting, and partly because the text medium of the email group is so congenial to the hermeneutic endeavour; generating an interpretable text from a face-to-face group is intensely laborious and subject to serious error and omissions, even when one has the best audio-visual equipment available. With email, the work is done for you.’
here’s a link to the previous list anthropology post for further context on netdynam the list.