Theoretical Improvement of Braithwaite's Reintegrative Shaming Theory: Specifying Contingencies for the Process of Shaming

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Title: Theoretical Improvement of Braithwaite's Reintegrative Shaming Theory: Specifying Contingencies for the Process of Shaming
Author: Botchkovar, Ekaterina V.
Advisors: Rodney Engen, Committee Member
Stacy De Coster, Committee Member
Charles R. Tittle, Committee Chair
Ronald Czaja, Committee Member
Abstract: Reintegrative shaming theory has been one of the most undertested and the least empirically supported criminological theories. Drawing mainly on the predictions from self-control theory, general strain theory, and deterrence theory, I attempt to improve Braithwaite's shaming theory by identifying conditions under which its causal process might be more effective in predicting misbehavior. Using data from the first self-report crime and deviance survey ever conducted in Russia, I put shaming theory to the test in its original and elaborated versions. In line with previous research, the study findings indicate that, contrary to the theory's predictions, being reintegratively shamed is positively associated with projected deviance while participating in gossip is unrelated to projected involvement in deviant behavior. While disintegrative shaming was found to be positively associated with future misbehavior, this relationship was not statistically significant controlling for past deviance reports. Interdependency does not seem to enhance the effects of shaming variables. Contrary to shaming theory theory, although anticipated feelings of guilt and fear of losing respect from others for potential misbehavior predict projections of future misconduct, they do not seem to be the links between shaming experiences and projected misconduct. While some of the hypothesized contingencies seemed to condition the effects of shaming on projected deviance, none of these effects were consistent for all types of deviant behavior in this study. These results, in conjunction with the accumulated body of research, suggest that reintegrative shaming theory may be in need of further revision. Suggestions for the future refinement of shaming theory are provided. Overall, this study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it strengthens shaming theory by specifying some of the boundaries for its explanatory scope. Second, this work provides an extensive empirical test to the original and elaborated statements of shaming theory using data from an unusual locale.
Date: 2005-08-12
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Sociology

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