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Shame as the Master Emotion: Examples from Pop Songs

by Thomas J. Scheff (April 2011)

We are rarely proud when we are alone.
             --- Voltaire


It is difficult to understand the importance of shame in modern societies because we live inside an ethos that is highly individualistic and focused on exterior matters. When interior matters are viewed, thought and perception are recognized, but little attention is given to emotions and relationships. This essay focuses on the social-emotional world, and proposes that shame should be considered the master emotion.  more>>