Japanese Sociological Review
Online ISSN : 1884-2755
Print ISSN : 0021-5414
ISSN-L : 0021-5414
Consideration and Backbiting as a Form of Society
From the standpoint of “proving self-worth”
Takashi OKUMURA
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1994 Volume 45 Issue 1 Pages 77-93

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Abstract

“Consideration” and “backbiting”-these are common activities in everyday life. When we think of them as arts to elaborate society togeher with others, we can understand why they have to be done and how they are interrelated. This essay aims to illustrate this from the standpoint of “proving self-worth”.
As E. Goffman said, only others can show deference to us. We have to make society, because deference or appreciation from others is essential to our “self-worth” feelings. But others also need “self-worth”, so we often come into conflict as to the definitions of situations which support each ones' identity. Others are “subjects”, who cannot be controlled by us, as R.D. Laing's analysis suggested. Therefore, society can be discribed as <configuration of appreciation and conflict>.
Facing riskfulness or scarcity of “self-worth”, we invent an art to deal with this difficulty : “consideration”. We consider others beforehand lest any conflict happen, even if differences exist between others and us. This art reduces other-subjects' uncontrollability and makes “proving self-worth” quite safe.
However, appreciation, easy to be given, becomes worthless and worthless. The problem about truthfulness or “inflation of self-worth” takes place here. To “backbite” ensure that our standard of appreciation is high enough on one hand. On the other hand, the region of “backbiting” is, and must be, separated from that of “consideration”, otherwise its safety might be destroyed. Society regulated with consideration is, by all means, <configuration of consideration and backbiting>.
To form society with others means to invent arts to manage the uncontrollability of other-subjects. This essay discribes two types of social formation. There will be various types of solution of this problem and elaboration of society. And those types will have respective difficulties, as we see from these two types.

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