microsociology 3007

through the analysis of verbatim discourse. The
difficulty is that in order to carry out this
program, one must enter a world that is all
but forbidden in western societies: the world
of specific emotions and actual relationships.
Charles Horton Cooley provided an impor
tant step toward understanding social integra
tion: the looking glass self seems to have three
principal elements: the imagination of our
appearance to the other person; the imagination
of his judgment of that appearance, and some
sort of self feeling, such as pride or mortifica
tion. Cooleys elements point to the basic
components of social integration. The first
two involve the imagination of the others view
of self. The two elements combined can be
called degree of attunement. The other compo
nent is made up of the emotional reactions that
are real, not imagined, either pride or shame.
The first component, attunement, of living
in the minds of others, without realizing it, as
Cooley put it, is directly contrary to the very
foundation of western culture, violating the
canon of individualism. Living in the minds of
others implies that individuals, as well as being
separate units, may also be united, at least
momentarily, as a pair or member of a larger
group. Although the idea of unity between two
or more persons (collective consciousness)
instead of separation is a staple in eastern cul
tures, it is unacceptable to the extent of being
taboo in western thought.
Cooleys focus on pride and shame is also a
deviation. Western culture has at its center the
embedded idea of the isolated, self contained
individual. The pride/shame component of
social integration implies that our self feelings
are dependent on other people. For this rea
son, discussions of shame and its relatives are
usually avoided, both in lay and social science
Goffman did not acknowledge a debt to
Cooley, but his analysis of concrete examples
led him to a deep exploration of the looking
glass self (Scheff 2006). Indeed, Goffmans
treatment of a large number of examples implies
a fourth element. Cooley stopped at the third,
with the experience of pride or shame. Goffmans
analyses, especially of impression management,
imply a fourth step: the management of emotion.
Goffman had nothing to say about the pride
option, but his examples suggest that actors
usually do not accept shame/embarrassment
passively. Instead, they try to manage it, by
avoidance, if possible. Most of the embarrass
ment/shame possibilities in Goffmans exam
ples are not about the actual occurrence of
emotions, but anticipations, and management
based on these anticipations. (In European lan
guages other than English, the anticipation of
shame/embarrassment is taken to be a shame
variant, such as the French pudeur modesty.)
This idea is expressible in English as a sense of
shame. Goffmans examples further imply that
if shame/embarrassment cannot be avoided,
then his actors actively deny it, attempting to
save face, on the one hand, and/or to avoid pain,
on the other. It is Goffmans fourth step that
brings his examples to life, because it touches
on the dynamics of impression and emotion
management that underlie most moments of
everyday life.
The Cooley/Goffman looking glass self pro
vides an underlying model of structure/process
of social integration. Alienation/solidarity can
be understood in terms of degree of attunement
(Goffman called it mutual awareness), on the
one hand, and the emotional responses that
follow from it, on the other. Pride signals and
generates solidarity. Shame signals and gener
ates alienation. Shame is a normal part of the
process of social control; it becomes disruptive
only when hidden or denied. Denial of shame,
especially when it takes the form of false pride
(egoism), generates self perpetuating cycles of
Threats to a secure bond can come in two
different formats: either the bond is too loose or
too tight. Relationships in which the bond is
too loose are isolated: there is mutual misunder
standing or failure to understand, or mutual
rejection. Relationships in which the bond is
too tight are engulfed: at least one of the parties
in the relationship, say the subordinate, under
stands and embraces the standpoint of the other
at the expense of the subordinates own beliefs,
values, or feelings. The other is accepted by
rejecting parts of ones self. In engulfed
families, a child can only be good by blind
obedience and conformity, by relinquishing its
curiosity, intuition, or feelings.
This view of alienation is congruent with,
and further develops, Durkheims theory of
social integration, which he derived from his