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Crime, Shame, and Reintegration in Russia

Tittle, Charles R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Theoretical Criminology. 9(4): 401 -442.

The article begins with an extensive examination of shaming theory and prior research relating to it. Braithwaite’s shaming theory posits that reintegrative shaming inhibits future misbehavior and that those who participate in the shaming process are less likely to misbehave in the first place. Based on this examination, the authors hypothesize that: 1) participation in shaming is negatively associated with misbehavior; 2) having been reintegratively shamed is negatively associated with misbehavior; and 3) stigmatizing experience is positively associated with future misconduct. Four subsidiary hypotheses were also examined. Data were collected from interviews conducted in July and August 2002 with 224 Russian citizens, of which 70 percent were women. Dependent variables measured were the chance of personally committing one of four specific offenses; independent variables were participating in gossip, being reintegratively shamed, and being disintegratively shamed. Analyses of the data resulted in mixed evidence about shaming theory. The results suggest that contrary to the contention that reintegrative shaming would have a positive effect while disintegrative shaming would have a negative effect, the results provide evidence that shaming of any kind, whether reintegrative or disintegrative, may have negative consequences. The findings also show that participating in gossip is unrelated to future deviance and that guilt or fear of losing respect for others for potential misbehavior do not seem to be related to past shaming experiences nor do they mediate supposed relationships between past shaming experiences and misconduct. These findings, along with previous research, suggest that shaming theory may need further refinement. Study limitations are discussed. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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