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Synopsis

Shame, the quintessential human emotion, received little attention during the years in which the central forces believed to be motivating us were identified as primitive instincts like sex and aggression. Now, redressing the balance, there is an explosion of interest in the self-conscious emotion. Much of our psychic lives involve the negotiation of shame, asserts Michael Lewis, internationally known developmental and clinical psychologist. Shame is normal, not pathological, though opposite reactions to shame underlie many conflicts among individuals and groups, and some styles of handling shame are clearly maladaptive. Illustrating his argument with examples from everyday life, Lewis draws on his own pathbreaking studies and the theory and research of many others to construct the first comprehensive and empirically based account of emotional development focused on shame. In this paperback edition, Michael Lewis adds a compelling new chapter on stigma in which he details the process in which stigmatization produces shame.

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