Social Structure, Social Distance and Differential Shaming: Application of Black's Theory of Social Structure of Right and Wrong in Reintegrative Shaming

Xiaogang Deng, University of Massachusetts - Boston

The purpose of this study is to use Donald Black's theory of social structure of right and wrong to examine the impacts of structural positions on differential shaming practices in East Asia and U.S. The study will analyze variation within and between various structural and cultural positions, and assess how these structural positions affect the types and styles of social control (or shaming) in a cross-cultural context. It argues that since the degree of intimacy plays a crucial role in interpersonal relationship in East Asia, the style of social control or shaming is more likely to be reintegrative, therapeutic and reconciliatory; and its focal concern there is to offer help and reestablish social harmony. Wider structural and cultural variations in U.S. may expandsocial distance between the parties involved and contribute to alienation, stimatization, and punitive styles of social control. This study will use cross-cultural survey data and qualitative data.

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Updated 05/20/2006