In the form of an autoethnography, the author analyzes a violent attack he suffered in public and discusses how the incident relates to a degradation ceremony. The author explains why the incident did not meet the required conditions of a successful degradation ceremony and defines a concept called degradation incident. Like a degradation ceremony, a person who experiences a degradation incident is perceived by the public as lower in the local scheme of social types. Unlike a degradation ceremony, transformation of ones total identity is not a required outcome of a degradation incident. The significance of being degraded in public without experiencing a transformation of total identity is discussed.


Degradation Ceremony, Degradation Incident, and Autoethnography


The author would like to thank Erich Goode, Ken Feldman, Nick Holt, Ron Chenail, and Maureen Duffy for their advice and encouragement.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


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