So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

by

Jon Ronson

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James Gilligan Character Analysis

James Gilligan is a renowned psychiatrist and an expert on shaming whose work with prisoners and mental patients throughout Massachusetts in the 1970s produced groundbreaking evidence about the relationship between shame and violence. Gilligan observed that some inmates who were affected by traumas from earlier in their lives felt a numbness that allowed them to commit serious acts of violence. Others acted violently in order to regain a sense of control that they felt humiliation and shame had stripped away from them.

James Gilligan Quotes in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed quotes below are all either spoken by James Gilligan or refer to James Gilligan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed published in 2016.
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Universal among the violent criminals was the fact that they were keeping a secret,” Gilligan wrote. “A central secret. And that secret was that they felt ashamed—deeply ashamed, chronically ashamed, acutely ashamed.” It was shame, every time. “I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed or humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed.”

Related Characters: James Gilligan (speaker), Jon Ronson (speaker)
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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James Gilligan Character Timeline in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The timeline below shows where the character James Gilligan appears in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13: Raquel in a Post-Shaming World
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
...was excited to hear that Ronson had interviewed famed psychiatrist and expert on shaming James Gilligan. In the 1970s, Gilligan began working with prisoners and mental patients throughout Massachusetts. There were... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
These violent criminals, Gilligan found, were united by a common thread: they were all overwhelmed by shame. Every act... (full context)
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Thinking about Gilligan’s words, Ronson found himself looking at Jonah Lehrer’s story through new eyes. He recalled Lehrer’s... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Throughout the 1980s, Gilligan devoted his life to running experimental therapeutic communities inside Massachusetts prisons. These communities were all... (full context)