The origins of Northwest European guilt culture Watch

Chi019
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Interesting post by anthropologist Peter Frost about the role and origin of guilt in Northwest European societies. Frost notes the distinction between guilt culture and shame cultures, and that guilt is particularly useful for regulating behaviour without surveillance.

It seems to pre-date Christianity and go back to Anglo-Saxon times. It also seems linked to greater individualism and looser kinship ties, which has aided the development of market economies. Frost comments:

Historically, guilt has proven to be a useful adaptation, being part of a larger behavioral package that has enabled Northwest Europeans to adapt to a social environment where kinship matters less and individualism matters more. This package is widely believed to have come together over the last thousand years, with increased reliance on guilt going back only half a millennium. The conventional view among historians may be summarized as follows:

11th century onward – Throughout Western Europe, states pacified social relations by imposing the death penalty for murder and other acts of personal violence. People no longer had to rely as much on kinsmen for protection of life and property (see previous post).

14th century – The Black Death created a widespread labor shortage that increased labor mobility and led to the dissolution of feudalism. The rural population was no longer bound to the land in static communities of closely related individuals.

16th century onward – Most of Northwest Europe converted to Protestantism, which emphasized the individual’s relationship with God. Faith became interiorized, and behavior became regulated more through the workings of private conscience and less through acts of public worship. Guilt also assumed more importance because it could no longer be routinely purged through confession (Carroll, 1981).

16th century onward – The market economy expanded beyond the marketplace at the expense of domestic modes of production. Instead of growing their own food, making their own clothes, and manufacturing their own wares, families increasingly sold what they made and bought what they needed. The family ceased to be the main organizing principle of economic and social relations (Seccombe, 1992)…
[
Frantzen (1983) argues that the penitential tradition first developed in Anglo-Saxon England and then was exported to the continent in the 8th century. It is thus inaccurate to see this guilt culture as something that Christianity introduced into Northwest Europe. Instead, an indigenous guilt culture seems to have modified the historical development of Western Catholic Christianity, eventually giving rise to Protestantism.

A possibly earlier witness to Anglo-Saxon guilt is the epic poem The Song of Beowulf. The hero’s “dark thoughts” come from private fears of having broken some rule, as opposed to shame over a publicly known wrongdoing:

That was sorrow to the good man's soul, greatest of griefs to the heart. The wise man thought that, breaking established law, he had bitterly angered God, the Lord everlasting. His breast was troubled within by dark thoughts, as was not his wont. The Song of Beowulf, 90..

Conclusion

Clearly, the last thousand years have seen Northwest Europeans become increasingly individualistic and guilt-driven. Nonetheless, this behavioral trajectory began long before the timeline of the last millennium. In fact, it seems to have begun before the dawn of history.

It looks as though Northwest Europeans had already become pre-adapted to conditions that would arise much later. They would thus be better able to exploit the potential of later social environments, in particular the market economy.

This raises questions of how and why.
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2ndClass
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I have never seen or experienced European "guilt culture"
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by 2ndClass)
I have never seen or experienced European "guilt culture"
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barnetlad
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Interesting. I had always blamed it on Cromwell and the Puritans.
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imtelling
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white guilt is not a product of anglo saxon times. its a product of modern oppression.

example: when was the last time someone heard anything specifically positive about white people in the mainstream media or even education for that matter? you may have seen a documentary or movie about a white character but their race is never mentioned. they just happen to be white. never is it made clear that this or that person is great because they are white. that their achievements are somehow tied to their heritage.

we hear about black achievement all the time. its even taught as mandatory in schools. but, young white people go through their formative years literally believing that their race and culture is inherently evil. worse, that it does not even exist.

bottom line ( as the americans say ) : white guilt is oppression and guilty whites are victims.
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CryptoidAlien
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(Original post by Chi019)
Interesting post by anthropologist Peter Frost about the role and origin of guilt in Northwest European societies. Frost notes the distinction between guilt culture and shame cultures, and that guilt is particularly useful for regulating behaviour without surveillance.

It seems to pre-date Christianity and go back to Anglo-Saxon times. It also seems linked to greater individualism and looser kinship ties, which has aided the development of market economies. Frost comments:
Political Correct Theology and Radical cultural Marxism.
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Chi019
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(Original post by imtelling)
white guilt is not a product of anglo saxon times. its a product of modern oppression.

example: when was the last time someone heard anything specifically positive about white people in the mainstream media or even education for that matter? you may have seen a documentary or movie about a white character but their race is never mentioned. they just happen to be white. never is it made clear that this or that person is great because they are white. that their achievements are somehow tied to their heritage.

we hear about black achievement all the time. its even taught as mandatory in schools. but, young white people go through their formative years literally believing that their race and culture is inherently evil. worse, that it does not even exist.

bottom line ( as the americans say ) : white guilt is oppression and guilty whites are victims.
That's interesting. Have you read Dr Frank Salter's essays in Quadrant about the double standard in how European ethnic groups are treated compared to minority groups in Australia? They are quite fascinating.

The media review also revealed a pronounced status difference in Australian ethnic relations. Ethnic minorities are routinely represented by university-educated elites with access to the mass media and government while the ethnic majority is usually not. Rare exceptions, such as Professor Geoffrey Blainey was perceived to be in the 1980s, prove the rule, as does the fury they provoke from the mainstream media and Left activists. The class difference corresponds with institutional support, such that minority advocates are privileged by the establishment while majority advocates are excluded. Minority ethnic activists are treated with respect by government, the media, universities and corporations. They receive positive media coverage, jobs and other perks from the multicultural and immigration industry. They are invited to participate in government forums. Political parties sometimes favour them for preselection as a means of attracting the “ethnic vote”. Activist lawyers volunteer strategy and legal services. Peccadilloes and indiscretions are overlooked. By contrast, majority activists are derided by the media, university experts, minority activists and government officials. There are no jobs for advocates of Anglo-Australian interests in the multicultural industry or in government agencies. They are not invited to government forums. Lawyers demand full payment. Majority advocacy can stunt careers. Peccadilloes and indiscretions become the whole story. Throughout the West, efforts continue to legislate ever harsher penalties for expressions of loyalty to shrinking white majorities.

Vilification of Anglo ethnic consciousness helps perpetuate this difference. The resulting stigma helps silence the professional class that could marshal a powerful electoral and cultural defence of the historical nation.
Quadrant - The War Against Human Nature III: Race and the Nation in the Media

Quadrant - The War Against Human Nature III: Race and the Nation in the Universities

Canadian academic Dr. Ricardo Duchesne also notes a similar double standard:

But multiculturalism contains a negation within its very essence. It protects the group rights of non-Western peoples while simultaneously denying the host (Western) nation any group rights of its own.

The host nation is seen as a neutral site characterized solely by its provision of individual rights, which apply to everyone, and its provision of group rights, which apply only to non-whites.

The founding Anglo-French culture of Canada is indeed expected to suppress its own particularities in order to accommodate the particularities of ‘minorities’. The founders are mandated to be ethnically neutral, historically disinterested, and behave as if they were a people representing certain deracinated values that belong to ‘humanity.’2

While multicultural ideologues implicitly recognize that minorities have deep attachments to their ethnic backgrounds, and, in this vein, recognize that humans do have a natural attachment to their own heritage and ethnicity; they call upon whites to practice historical amnesia and pretend they were not the creators of Canada’s institutions, parliamentary traditions, and common law.

The historical fact that Canada was built as a nation state around a founding ethnic core must be discarded and hidden from students.3

Children were once taught that Canada was a unique nation founded by two peoples, the French and the English. Then they were taught that the ‘Aboriginals’ were also a founding people, but that the English and French had dispossessed the Aboriginals who were here ‘first.’
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vendettax
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In the articles you linked you'll see a lot of female names supporting the multiculturalism/"anti-racism". They seem to be quite the idealists. I don't think the male brain works the same as a female in this regard. I'm assuming everyone ITT is male, as this conversation wouldn't sit well with a female who has her mind in Disney World.
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Picnic1
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'16th Century Onwards' is a very broad sweep to leave on.

What about:

The Industrial Revolution. The automation, mechanisation and standardisation of working practices in town and country. Leading to less labour needed in the close knit country, more needed in the more easily impersonal city.

Workers being more of a cog in a large machine (e.g. the steam powered textile mill) rather than the prime human driver of that machine (e.g. horse and cart) , to start with the novelty of the work may have fostered family-like relations between workers.

As time progressed and war intervened with WW1 and then WW2, wealth became more of a source of conflict. The poorer were getting richer but some of the rich were getting poorer, the rich's benefaction in Victorian times being taken for a ride and turned in to full blown socialism.
Some rich moved abroad, others stayed and tolerated the poorer, middle class and high taxes through gritted teeth, loyalty to the rich no longer a given.
By 1977, was anyone guilty so much as either living in an Antiques Roadshow-like Royal Jubilee fantasy or punk-related 'God save the fascist regime' fantasy? Shame that the 2 didn't seem to understand each other - they had something in common. They aspired above the drearier parts of the 70s and paved the way for the dreaming of the 1980s- but their dreaming was so different that they changed the nature of city and country.

Cities now are generally more vibrant places than they might once have been with new areas of housing being popular with young families

But the countryside is staider, a more middle class version of what the countryside once was. Less of a sense of lower and upper class dominating in the country than there might once have been.

And the slighlty unimaginative suburbs built in the 50s/60s/70s are a bit less upper working / middle class, than they once were. Depressed teenagers hating the banality of their surroundings and the people who make do with something that is neither town nor country.

What an odd country now, don't you think?
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