Helen Lynd

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Helen Merrell Lynd (March 17, 1896–January 30, 1982) was an American sociologist and social philosopher, and was the author of Shame and the Search for Identity and co-author of Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture with husband Robert Staughton Lynd.

The model of shame that Lynd advocated in the book is loosely Marxian, insisting upon "the importance of historical context and of transcultural analysis within single social formations" (particularly Western). Her theory of shame finally hinges upon the clashing of different social or moral ‘values’ in specific locations at specific moments, highlighting the trauma experienced by members of communities marginal to dominant culture: those most likely to feel shame are those made to feel ‘inappropriate’ by dominant cultural norms" (Fox 1994:13).

See also


  • Fox, Pamela. 1994. Class Fictions: Shame and Resistance in the British Working Class Novel, 1890-1945. Durham: Duke University Press.

External links

  • Ball State University Center for Middletown Studies -
  • Middletown Studies Collection and Digital Archives - Ball State University, Archives and Special Collections Research Center -

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