Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1994 - Psychology - 496 pages
3 Reviews
This is a revolutionary book about the nature of emotion, about the way emotions are triggered in our private moments, in our relations with others, and by our biology. Drawing on every theme of the modern life sciences, Dr. Nathanson shows how the nine basic affects--interest-excitement, enjoyment-joy, surprise-startle, fear-terror, distress-anguish, anger-rage, dissmell, disgust, and shame-humiliation--not only determine how we feel but shape our very sense of self. For too long there has been a battle between those who explain emotional discomfort on the basis of lived experience and those who blame chemistry. As Dr. Nathanson shows, chemicals and illnesses can affect our mood just as surely as an uncomfortable memory or a stern rebuke. He presents a completely new understanding of all emotion, providing the first link between the exciting affect theory of Silvan Tomkins and the entire world of biology, medicine, psychology, psychotherapy, religion, and the social sciences. Shame is the least understood of the painful emotions, although it affects every phase of life. We have all been made to feel foolish just at the moment we most wanted to appear wonderful; we have all been rebuffed by those we wished to court. Not one of us looks exactly as we might wish. Shame haunts our every dream of love, and influences how we experience ourselves as sexual beings. We react to shame by withdrawing, by making painful alliances with those who humiliate us, by calling attention to what brings us pride, or by attacking whoever has made us feel inferior. The comedian, as Nathanson shows in his discussion of Buddy Hackett, makes us laugh at what we try to keep hidden, transforming shame intoacceptance and even pride. This book explains everything that can possibly make us proud or ashamed. All are in this book; nobody who reads it will be quite the same again.
  

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I'm a former foreign correspondent who has traveled the world and experienced many cultures. This is a wonderful book about the relatively obscure, but revolutionary, work on affect by Silvan Tomkins. In my opinion, Tomkins new framing of behavioral psychology is as great a contribution to 20th century science as the works of Darwin, Freud and Jung. Anyone who reads this book will be transformed and gain greater insight into their own lives and the social dynamics of the world around them. Nathanson is a good writer and the book is a riveting read. I've given it to many people over the years, and recommend it highly! 

Review: Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self

User Review  - Cathy Hasty - Goodreads

Excellent book, foundational. Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Introduction
15
WHAT IS EMOTION? 35 2 THE AFFECT SYSTEM 47 FEELING
73
AFFECTIVE RESONANCE AND THE EMPATHIC
107
THE DRIVES Il6 9 DISSMELL
134
SKILL l68 14 DEPENDENCEINDEPENDENCE 179 IJ
197
SHAME AND
217
A NEW THEORY OF SEXUALITY
269
THE COMPASS
305
OTHER 360 27 BUDDY HACKETT AND THE COMEDY OF
378
MECHANISMS
399
AFFECT BEYOND THE LIMITS
414
TOLERANCE 414 O A BRIEF HISTORY OF SHAME 43 1
455
Bibliography
477
Index
487
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Donald L. Nathanson, M.D., is the founder and Executive Director of the Silvan S. Tomkins Institute. He is currently Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College.

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