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Suite Justice or Sweet Charity? Some Explorations of Shaming and Incapacitating Business Fraudsters

Levi, Michael
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Punishment & Society. 4(2):147-163

In reviewing the extent to which fraudulent behavior attracts shaming responses and the extent to which fraudsters are likely to care about the shame imposed on them, this article explored the use of shaming and stigma against white-collar criminals or financial criminals and evidence on their impact. Shame can unintentionally turn into stigma when some of those shamed are inappropriate targets. Shame is a subjective emotional state of significant complexity, where without social hypocrisy shaming would be reduced. This study examined the conditions or stages of successful shaming which included: (1) the application of shaming and its interpretation by significant others; (2) the offenders’ behavior must change in response; and (3) reintegration into society. The examination revealed that potential damage to business prospects was potentially more important then shame per se to the impact of informal sanctions. However, culture was seen as an important component of the process of shaming. Additional research was recommended to offer confidence in the effectiveness of shame aside from the difficulties of applying it in practice.


AbstractCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationPrisonsRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeRJ TheoryShamingStatutes and LegislationTeachers and StudentsVictim SupportWhite Collar
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