Tuesday, June 01, 2010

time for an old idea

It's time for an old idea to gain traction again. It's time we considered shunning, or social exile, as a way of expressing our extreme disapproval with a person's behavior. A person sells drugs on your corner? Shun him. His family, his friends, his neighbors, should all refuse to have anything to do with him until he mends his ways. We could clean up our neighborhoods pretty quickly. Everyone wants approval from someone -- from a friend, from a mom or grandmom, from a neighbor. What happens when they don't get it? What happens when you are excluded from everything? When people around you won't look at you, won't say hello, ignore you like you aren't even there?

I'm not expecting shame from the perpetrators. I think many are incapable of feeling it or acting on it. I do expect that even a hardened criminal can't live without social contact, without anyone at all.

1 comment:

Kitten Herder said...

Shunning has the most effect where communities as a whole adopt it as a means of expressing displeasure at a member's behavior. If the shunned were barred from the interaction of their fellows except for critical interactions, it might have some impact.

Imagine a drug dealer who could not buy a ticket to a movie or a latte (only self-check out Point-of-Sale systems should be expected to interact with the shunned), or who couldn't get a taxi, ride the Metro, or buy a plane ticket (society should not have to tolerate the shunned on/in public conveyances).

Interested concept.