What do we mean when we call someone shy? Does shyness exist beyond the level of the individual mind? How does being shy affect everyday interaction and social relationships? Shyness and Society takes a sociological approach to understanding shyness as a condition that is defined, interpreted and managed in relation to cultural norms and values. Drawing on Symbolic Interactionist theories and using data from her own study of self-defined 'shy' people, Susie Scott explores the experience of being shy in contemporary Western Society. In a culture obsessed with talk, assertiveness and competitive individualism, those who are more reticent are regarded as deviant, and encouraged to 'come out of their shells'. From shy people's perspective, however, everyday social life is a minefield of potential blunders and dramaturgical dilemmas, which they resolve by performing their identities in unique ways.

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