STIGMA AND STIGMATIZATION
Short stature (dwarf), physical disabilities, facial
disfigurement, stuttering, a prison record, being obese, or not being able to read, may
become stigmatized attributes. In India, widowhood is a stigmatized,
though no stigma attaches to a widower.
As used by Erving Goffman (1922-1982), stigma is
differentness about an individual which is given a negative evaluation by others and thus
distorts and discredits the public identity of the person. Stigma may lead to the adoption
of a self-identity that incorporates the negative social evaluation. Stigma is branding, a
sign of social disgrace or subjection.
Social psychologists and sociologists have been studying
phenomena related to stigma for a long time now. Stigma is mark or sign of social disgrace
or social discredit, regarded as impressed on or carried by a person though may be through
no fault of the person.
Illegitimacy is considered an unambiguous social stigma.
Stigma is a visible or apparent characteristic indicative of some undesirable or
discreditable quality, action, or circumstance.
Stigmatization Among Probationers
Andreas Schneider ; Wayne McKim
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume:38 Issue:1 Dated:2003 Pages:19 to 31
Abstract: An identity theory perspective defines stigma as negative labeling. Drawing on
the concepts of primary deviance and secondary deviance provided by labeling theory, the
authors set out to determine whether probationers experience stigmatization from within
(secondary deviance) or from others in their community (primary deviance). Personal
interviews were conducted with 97 current probationers in rural West Texas. Questions
focused on probationers perceptions of how employers, family, the community, law
enforcement, and friends viewed them as a result of their probation placement in order to
establish the presence of primary deviance. Results indicate that probationers perceived
stigmatization to originate mainly from employers, and also from law enforcement officials
and the community in general. Primary stigmatization was counterbalanced by the
probationers perceptions of themselves and from the support of friends and family
members. As a result, probationers did not engage in secondary deviance to the extent
expected due to the contradictions in the different forms of stigmatization. The support
of family and friends is thus extremely important in destabilizing the stigmatization of
others. In closing, the authors suggest that although the lack of stigmatization may be
indicative of the success of the probation program in West Texas, it may also be
indicative of its failure.
Stigmatization of people with mental illnesses: a
follow-up study within the Changing Minds campaign of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
- ARTHUR CRISP, MICHAEL GELDER, EILEEN GODDARD, and HOWARD MELTZER
A population survey before the start of the Changing Minds campaign showed that negative
opinions about people with mental illnesses were widely held, and that opinions about
different disorders differed in important ways. Though often small, apart from reported
opinions concerning treatment and outcome, they were all reductions in the percentages of
stigmatizing opinions. Seventy seven percent of respondents reported knowing someone with
one of the seven disorders. Those who did so in respect of severe depression or panic and
phobias were less likely to have stigmatizing opinions about people with the corresponding
disorder, but the same did not apply to the other disorders. The greatest proportion of
negative opinions was in the 16-19 year age group, and respondents with higher education
were less likely than the rest to express such views. We conclude that stigmatizing
opinions are frequent in the community but the various disorders are not stigmatized in
the same way. Campaigns to reduce stigma should take account of these differences, and of
the need to address young people.
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