Autonomy is associated with intellectual self-preservation and self-determination. Shame, on the contrary, bears a loss of approval, self-esteem and control. Being afflicted with shame, we suffer from social dependencies that by no means have been freely chosen. Moreover, undergoing various experiences of shame, our power of reflection turns out to be severly limited owing to emotional embarrassment. In both ways, shame seems to be bound to heteronomy. This situation strongly calls for conceptual clarification. For this purpose, we introduce a threestage model of self-determination which comprises i) autonomy as capability of decision-making relating to given sets of choices, ii) self-commitment in terms of setting and harmonizing goals, and iii) self-realization in compliance with some range of persistently approved goals. Accordingly, the presuppositions and distinctive marks of shame-experiences are made explicit. Within this framework, we explore the intricate relation between autonomy and shame by focusing on two questions: on what conditions could conventional behavior be considered as self-determined? How should one characterize the varying roles of actors that are involved in typical cases of shame-experiences? In this connection, we advance the thesis that the social dynamics of shame turns into ambiguous positions relating to motivation, intentional content,and actors’ roles.
|Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl: Scham und Autonomie||163|