Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Shunning is a social control mechanism used most commonly in small, tight-knit social groups to punish those who violate the most serious group rules. It is related to banishment and exile, although shunning is based on social rather than physical isolation or separation. In social groups where a person's social identity and well-being are closely tied to regular interaction with other group members, shunning can be a very emotionally painful and effective punishment for those who violate group rules. Shunning is used for only the most serious offenses, and the punishment is usually applied only after a formal judicial procedure. Although shunning may be applied for life, it is typically limited to a set period, which is often ended by another formal hearing or by evidence that the person is now acting in a socially responsible manner. Shunning may be applied to the individual rule breaker's family as well, which ...