The reintegrative shaming experiment (RISE) and shaming in institutional settings

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Project leader(s)

Nathan Harris has used data from the Reintegrative Shaming Experiment (RISE) to examine the relationship between shame and guilt and how the social process of shaming interacts with institutional settings and personal characteristics to produce shame/guilt feelings. An important part of this work is the challenge it mounts to assumptions that shame is an externally imposed emotional reaction, while guilt is something that we feel within as a result of our own conscience. Harris, like others in the micro foundations of democratic governance research group, argues that conscience is both personal and social, and plays a critical role in triggering both guilt and shame.

The work on the institutional factors that promote adaptive shame/guilt draws heavily on reintegrative shaming theory and the idea that institutional processes that are stigmatising impede the capacity of individuals to manage shame and guilt well. What is required instead is disapproval of actions that offend or hurt others along with support and respect for the worth of the ‘offending’ person, a form of social regulation that is captured by the phrase ‘reintegrative shaming’.


Ahmed, Eliza, Nathan Harris, John Braithwaite and Valerie Braithwaite (2001) Shame Management Through Reintegration, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Harris, Nathan (2001) ‘Shaming and shame: regulating drink driving’ In Eliza Ahmed, Nathan Harris, John Braithwaite and Valerie Braithwaite (eds), Shame management through reintegration, pp. 71–207, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Harris, Nathan (2003) ‘Evaluating the practice of restorative justice: The case of family group conferencing’ in Lode Walgrave (ed), Repositioning restorative justice, Willan Publishing, Cullompton.

Harris, Nathan (2003) ‘Reassessing the dimensionality of the moral emotions’, British Journal of Psychology, 94(4): 457–473.

Harris, Nathan (2006) ‘Reintegrative shaming, shame and criminal justice’, Journal of Social Issues, 62(2): 327–346.

Harris, Nathan and Jamie Burton (1997) ‘The reliability of observed reintegrative shaming, shame, defiance and other key concepts in diversionary conferences (No. 5)’. Australian National University, Canberra.

Harris, Nathan and Jamie Burton (1998) ‘Testing the Reliability of Observational Measures of Reintegrative Shaming at Community Accountability Conferences and at Court’, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology 31(3): 230–241.

Harris, Nathan and Shadd Maruna (2006) ‘Shame, shaming and restorative justice: A critical appraisal’ in Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft (eds) Handbook of restorative justice: a global perspective, Routledge, London, pp. 452–462.

Harris, Nathan, Lode Walgrave and John Braithwaite (2004) ‘Emotional dynamics in restorative conferences’, Theoretical Criminology 8(2): 191–210.

Nathan Harris

Dr Nathan Harris

Dr Nathan Harris is a Clinical Psychologist. Previously he has held appointments as a Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the...

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