Blog #2: Goffman and Stigma

          According to Goffman, a stigma “is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity”. In other words a stigma is something that you as an individual have that others see as being negative. An example of this would be sleeve tattoos, to most individuals in society tattoos are something that identify with druggies, gangsters, and people of the like. Even though to some it is a form of an art to many in society tattoos make you out to a “bad” person. Having tattoos can effect what kind of jobs you are able to get, etc. One way the person with this so-called stigma would deal with it is by covering the tattoos by using long sleeved shirts and making sure they are visible.

          All societies are different therefore not all stigmas are the same from society to society. The reason for this is because a stigma is “a violation of norms”, being that not all societies have the same norms, what you might consider a stigma may not be a stigma in the society where the “stigmatized” person is from.

          According to Goffman there are two different types of stigmas, these do not depend on what the individuals society thinks is a stigma or not. The two types are discredited and discreditable stigmas. Discredited stigmas are ones that are known about while discreditable stigmas are ones that are not known about. A discredited stigma might be a skin disorder, or a disability, while a discreditable stigma might be a criminal record or tattoos.

          Most people always judge books by their covers and might have the wrong idea of who that person really is. For example you might see someone walking around with their pants sagging, a hoodie on, driving an expensive car and listening to gangster rap and might say he has a criminal record and is a drug dealer. But in reality he is a lawyer or some CEO of a company who is just being himself outside of his work place. Therefore one must not use stigmas to judge people.

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One response to “Blog #2: Goffman and Stigma

  1. I agree we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. My next door neighbor was a tattoo artist. He was covered in tattoos from his head to his toes. He also drove ninja motorcycles. You can tell that people judged him by the way they looked at him while they passed his house. They probably thought that he was some freak. But in reality, he is a very nice person and whenever I needed help with something, he was there to help me.

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