American environmentalist Jennifer Jacquet visits Second Home from New York University to present the themes of her prolific new book, Is Shame Necessary?, exploring how even the prospect of shame can be a powerful social corrective.
Is Shame Necessary? argues that modern-day shaming is a non-violent form of resistance that can be used to bring about large-scale change. Shaming, Jacquet shows, works best when used sparingly, but when applied in just the right way and at just the right time, it can keep us from failing ourselves. She takes examples from global companies like Starbucks or Amazon that appear to exist everywhere but be accountable nowhere, Twitter's effect on reputation,and explores Eastern "shame" cultures, where behaviour is judged on how it will appear to other people, and Western "guilt" cultures, where this task is largely performed by each person's internal moral compass.
Jennifer Jacquet is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University. She works at the intersection of conservation and cooperation, focusing on the human dimensions of large-scale social dilemmas, such as overfishing and climate change. She formerly wrote the guilty planet blog at Scientific American, contributes to Edge.org, and conceived of the modernized shame totem pole for a presentation in 2011 at the Serpentine Gallery.
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