Shame, social orders and the governing of women and girls through institutions in New South Wales

Jan Mason, Tobia Fattore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has illuminated, through the testimonies of survivors of abuse, how feelings of shame acted as a powerful barrier to prevent disclosures of abuse by children in these institutions. In this essay, we take this finding as a starting point, and examine the ways in which experiences of shame and institutional shaming practices facilitated the control of women and girls through the policing of female sexuality. We focus our analysis on two periods: the era of early colonial settlement and that of the early and mid-twentieth century. In the first period, women, and in the second period, adolescent girls, were placed in institutions for their moral reconstruction as part of social processes significant to nation-building. We discuss continuities and changes in the co-construction of shaming over these two periods, as part of institutional reform practices, and identify their implications for the contemporary era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-154
Number of pages24
JournalEmotions: History, Culture, Society
Volume1
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • shame
  • shaming practices
  • sexual abuse of women and girls
  • institutional abuse
  • gender orders

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