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Honour and Shame

Honour and Shame


A workshop to celebrate Professor Tom Inglis’ contribution to sociology in Ireland

School of Sociology, University College Dublin

 Friday 3rd December 2021

 Venue: Beech/Birch Room, University Club, University College Dublin

The focus of this workshop is to consider how the concepts of honour and shame can shed light on wider social and cultural debates about personhood and meaning, identity and recognition, inclusion and exclusion, and power, acclaim and censure.

There are many who argue that the notions of honour and shame are as about as relevant to describing and analysing contemporary society as the notions of chastity and sin. They argue that honour and shame are only useful in understanding traditional, feudal, hierarchical societies or those dominated by religious fanaticism and magical thinking. In modern bourgeois, liberal, individualised societies, dignity and respect have replaced honour and shame.

On the other hand, it could be argued, following Scheff, that honour and shame are still the ‘master emotions’ central to social life. They are embedded in every social interaction. They are central to the struggle for identity and recognition and to understanding behaviour within groups, families, organisations and institutions. And, finally, they are central to maintaining the symbolic capital in many social fields. The way the state, the media and institutionalised religion honours and shames is central to their symbolic domination.

Within the field of sociology in Ireland, the work of Professor Tom Inglis is central to these issues. Over a long and distinguished career, Tom’s work has contributed greatly to the development of sociology in Ireland, as a lecturer, PhD supervisor, mentor and scholar, and through his public engagement. His publications and research interests span a wide range of themes – culture, meaning, identity, religion, sexuality, the body, the media and globalisation. Emotions – particularly love, honour and shame – have been central to his work.

This workshop provides an opportunity to debate and reflect on the relations between honour and shame and social structures, institutions and long-term processes of change.






Session 1 – The Nature of Honour and Shame

Stephen Mennell – Have honour and shame changed their meaning?

Jonathan Heaney – Power and shame in political life: Reflections on the power of shame as a political emotion

Steve Loyal – Brief reflections on Bourdieu and honour




Session 2 – Contexts of Honour and Shame I

Vesna Malesevic – Irish habitus of shame and guilt in Tom Inglis' work (Zoom)

Ingrid Holme – The making of academic shame

Aogán Mulcahy – Disclosure, scandal and shame




Session 3 – Contexts of Honour and Shame II

Rineke van Daalen – Honour, shame and belonging (Zoom)

Eddie Brennan – Pride, shame and TV dinners

Siniša Malešević – Pride and Shame on the Battlefield




Session 4 – Contexts of Honour and Shame III 

Christien Brinkgreve – A Reflection on Power, Shame and Belonging (Zoom)

Barry Barnes – Did Odysseus blush?


Session 5 – Reflections and Response – Tom Inglis


UCD School of Sociology

Newman Building (Room D401), University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8263