Embarrassment, Bad Faith, Accounts, Stage Fright, and Coolness in EDL

Dan Ryan

All of these phenomena are centered around the relationship between two features of the self : it’s factual past and it’s possible future.
Self Consciousness

Most of the time we operate without a heightened awareness of self. At the same time, we are not oblivious of it and, in fact, complete unselfconsciousness is (or could be) seen as asocial. Versions of unselfconsciousness:
private moments solo
private moment with
Embarrassment and Self Consciousness


Situational Features leading to Self Consciousness

Situation Problem for Self Explanation / Examples
Short time Temporality


Self has past and future but situation says here and now is everything. No chance to redeem what you do. You’d better do it right.

First meetings, imminent death, big game, interviews, difficult conversations (a kind word now helps, five minutes later it doesn’t)

One-of-a-kind-ness Tokenism


Being one of a kind. You can’t be you - you are a representative of “them”. You are a thing, not the thing. High visibility (mistakes noticed), TFG traits marked, assimilation to stereotype (mistakes fit stereotype, achievements exceptional). See. Kanter Men and Women of the Corporation, Ch. 8 “Number”

“man at Mills,” “the college student in the family,” “watch your language, there are ladies here,” “not bad for a ”

Unique events Historicity


There really is only one. Total lack of “again-ness.” Normal structure of self is restricted. All immanence, no transcendence.

Loss of virginity, death, rites of passage.

Naive others (who don’t know you) Interaction


The more you are in a strange group, the greater the self consciousness. Reputation: you have it, it is an excuse, if not, you’ll get one. Challenge is to get into a new situation and “pull it off”

First day at school or on job. Outsiders. Cocktail parties.

Wise others (who know more than you want them too) Audience Desegregation Others present in one situation who know you in different roles.

Parents at school dance, adult on merry-go-round, Brekhus’ commuters

Prop Betrayal Flustering, exposure Objects that are supposed to support line taken fail to do so. Spillings of various kinds.

Microphone doesn’t work, fly is down, slip is showing, accent can be heard

Seriousness “Huh, you’re really into this, aren’t you?” “bit” technique
Ambiguous ethics or values Commitment The less typical the value judgements, the more the self is problematic. If you don’t know what they’ll think, you have to worry about it.

Gap or conflict in generalized other. Solution: claim there is no choice

“Socially responsible investor,” “friend and citizen,” “this will hurt me more than you (e.g., nurses),” etc.

Do we have all of them? What are the dimensions? Symbolic overdetermination (small part taken as the whole) and underdetermination (small parts doubted in standing for whole)? Space, time, role?

Overdetermination Underdetermination
Time short time
Role tokenism audience desegregation? Naïve others?