“Say, are you a little ashamed?” – Shame allocation and accountability in Israeli news interviews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In light of the growing emotionalization of public discourse, this article deals with the action of shame allocation in Israeli accountability interviews. A qualitative analysis of tokens of the Hebrew verb lehitbayesh ‘to be ashamed’ in political interviews was conducted using Discursive Psychology and Conversation Analysis methods. The findings show that in this public context the verb lehitbayesh is mostly not used to convey an emotional state, nor can its meaning be explained by the classic theoretical conceptualization of shame. Instead, lehitbayesh is mobilized to allocate shame to another actor, and portrays the allocator as morally superior and as someone who sacrifices for what is right. Lehitbayesh is part of the negotiations between journalists and politicians over the question of who is accountable for a transgressive act, what the desired response is, and who the relevant audience for the moral lesson is.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100742
JournalDiscourse, Context and Media
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Accountability interviews
  • Conversation analysis
  • Discursive psychology
  • Emotion discourse
  • Moral discourse
  • Shame

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


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