DOI link for Embarrassment
Embarrassment is a familiar emotion. Most people have experienced this feeling of inadequacy and awkward self-awareness in the presence of others. Within social research, many different empirical studies have been conducted on the triggers, processes and consequences of embarrassment. This chapter seeks to summarize and discuss some of these findings. In the chapter, we thus explore different dimensions of embarrassment as an everyday emotion. First, we turn to some of the empirical research and conceptual development done within ‘embarrassment studies’. Following this, we will discuss embarrassment in comparison to its ‘sibling emotion’ of shame – two emotions that despite apparent similarities also have many differences. Next follows a presentation of different typologies of embarrassment describing some of its forms and functions, causes and consequences. This takes us into a discussion of embarrassment and its relationship to role segregation and the interaction order. Finally, we will discuss some of the positive and negative aspects of embarrassment as an everyday emotion.