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On a Psychology of Shame


Georg Simmel,

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Andrés Mauricio Soto (translator)

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“Zur Psychologie der Scham”, which translates as “On the Psychology of Shame”, was written by Simmel in 1901 for the Vienna newspaper Die Zeit. Unlike other articles by the German philosopher, in this one he reviews and explicitly questions the work and research of one his contemporaries: Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), the physician and sexologist whose explanations of the origin of the feeling of shame and embarrassment gave rise – at the time – to debate on the matter. It is, in turn, Simmel’s response and contribution to this debate, from a perspective that draws on both psychological and sociological elements. It is thus not confined to a merely critical review, making it Simmel’s own contribution to the specific issue of shame; a contribution which, incidentally, is closely related to the part of his work concerned with emotions, feelings and attachments between humans.

How to Cite: Simmel, G. and Soto (translator), A.M., 2018. On a Psychology of Shame. Digithum, (21), pp.67–74. DOI:
Published on 15 Jan 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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