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Shame and Guilt: Self-Reflexive Affects from the Perspective of Relationship and Reciprocity

Abstract

The understanding of shame and guilt proposed here draws upon the concept of reciprocity to extend approaches based on object relations and structural theory. Shame is understood as an interface affect manifested in the context of external interaction. It constitutes the relational structure of self-consciousness by the internalization of a reciprocal relationship between subject and object. By contrast, guilt is an affective manifestation caused by the differentiation of the subject from a fusion of self and the other. First, it precipitates a disruption between subject and object. Second, it is used to restore oneness by regression.
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