Organizational approaches to shame: Avowal, management, and contestation

Daniel D. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article assesses the processes through which emotion, body, and experience are formulated within the context of appearance organizations. Fieldwork within Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance yielded data that suggest that the formulation of the shame experience in these three organizations occurs through two primary organizational activities: "shame work" and "body announcements." Through these activities, members and personnel mold meanings of the body and the shame experience in accordance with the primary frames of the organizations. The kind of shame work conducted within Overeaters Anonymous includes the strategies of shame avowal; the shame work that takes place in Weight Watchers represents a form of shame management; and the shame work within the National Association to Advance Fat is a form of shame contestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-150
Number of pages26
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


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