Blog 4: Stigmas

Erving_Goffman

According to Goffman, stigma is a discrepancy between actual and virtual social identity that causes us to alter our estimation of them downward.  Stigma is an attribute that is deeply discrediting, but also depends on its circumstances.  An attribute that stigmatizes one person may be typical for another person and is therefore neither creditable nor discreditable in itself.  Social stigma is the extreme disapproval of a person or group of people based on their physical and/or social interactions with society and distinguishing them with society.  Erving Goffman grouped social stigma into three different categories 1) physical attributes, 2) deviations in personal traits, 3) “tribal stigmas”.  An example for the first category would be having a skin disorder.  Deviations in personal traits include having a criminal record, drug addiction, or a mental illness.  Tribal stigmas include traits relating to a person’s ethnicity or religion.

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