Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity
From the author of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Stigma is analyzes a person’s feelings about himself and his relationship to people whom society calls “normal.”
Stigma is an illuminating excursion into the situation of persons who are unable to conform to standards that society calls normal. Disqualified from full social acceptance, they are stigmatized individuals. Physically deformed people, ex-mental patients, drug addicts, prostitutes, or those ostracized for other reasons must constantly strive to adjust to their precarious social identities. Their image of themselves must daily confront and be affronted by the image which others reflect back to them.
Drawing extensively on autobiographies and case studies, sociologist Erving Goffman analyzes the stigmatized person’s feelings about himself and his relationship to “normals” He explores the variety of strategies stigmatized individuals employ to deal with the rejection of others, and the complex sorts of information about themselves they project. In Stigma the interplay of alternatives the stigmatized individual must face every day is brilliantly examined by one of America’s leading social analysts.
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acceptance actual social identity apparent attributes become behavior biography blackmail blind call girl called cerebral palsy Chevigny circle colostomy conceal concern considered contingencies course criminal cripple defect deviator disability discreditable person employed Erving Goffman ex-mental patient example experience face fact failing feel Formal social control girl hard of hearing Harold Garfinkel Henrich and Kriegel homosexual hospital human identification indi individual’s interaction involved issue Journal kind know him personally known learning matized means mental patient merely moral career Negro normals norms particular stigma passing personal identity physically handicapped polio possesses possible present problem professional prostitute psychological regarding relation relationship role secret signs social deviants social information social situations society Sociology someone sometimes stig stigma management stigma symbols stigmatized individual stigmatized person strangers suggested sustained term tion tized vidual visibility Warfield Wright York
Page 2 - Thus, the demands we make might better be called demands made "in effect," and the character we impute to the individual might better be seen as an imputation made in potential retrospect — a characterization "in effect," a virtual social identity. The category and attributes he could in fact be proved to possess will be called his actual social identity. While the stranger is present before us, evidence can arise of his possessing an attribute that makes him different from others in the category...
Page 7 - The stigmatized individual tends to hold the same beliefs about identity that we do ... the standards he has incorporated from the wider society equip him to be intimately alive to what others see as his failing, inevitably causing him, if only for moments, to agree that he does indeed fall short of what he really ought to be.