Guilty as Sin

This topic submitted by Leslie Allan, Sarah Rarick ( at 10:00 pm on 1/30/01. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins

The basis for our project is to determine where it is that morals come from and why they can differ so much from culture to culture. Are morals, values and feelings of guilt attributed to societal hierarchy or is it biological? Do we all feel the same guilt or does the level of guilt depend on the culture that we are brought up in? To answer these questions we will be examining who sets these moral standards by looking at a variety of situations where cultural standpoints on certain issues are conflicting. For example, murder, rape, lying, animal rights, etc. We will also examine situations in which guilt may not even be present depending upon psychological factors, such as a sociopath or serial killer versus a priest. We hope to prove that as humans we all have the capacity to feel guilt, but where and how this is expressed to differs to certain degrees in situations that occur within that society or culture. Consequently, this socialization of guilt maintains the dominant power structure.

Sources: - On December 29, 2000 Oprah did a show called, "Sanctioned Violence Against Women", which covered a variety of topics such as genital mutilation, honor killings and acid burnings.

Ohlsson, Ragnar. Morals Based on Needs. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. 1995.

Miller, Susan. The Shame Experience. Hillsdale, New Jesey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1985.

Mananzan, Mary John. Women Resisting Violence, Spirituality for Life. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books. 1996.

Mendus, Susan and Jane Rendall. Sexuality and Subordination. New York: Routledge. 1989.

Mayer, Tamer ed. Gender Ironies of Nationalism, Sexing the Nation. New York: Routledge. 2000.

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