Blog # 4 – Goffman 3 types of stigma

According to Goffman there is three types of stigma, which is a discrepancy between actual and virtual social identity that causes us to alter our estimation of others negatively. 

1. Physical attributes:  various physical deformities.
2. Blemishes of individual character perceived as weak will, domineering of unnatural passions.
3. Tribal stigma of race, nation and religion; that “equally contaminate all members of a family

An example of the first stigma could be having a growth deformity where one of your arms is smaller then the other, or maybe someone was born with a missing finger or toe. Basically any deformities on a persons body will characterize them in this type of stigma based on Goffman’s ideology.  Some examples of the second one could be mental disorder, imprisonment, addiction, alcoholism, homosexuality, unemployment, suicidal attempts, and radical political behavior. Tribal stigma is stigmas that are passed on genetically, like race and ethnicity, or generationally, like religion.

What all of these types of stigma have in common is that they each have the same sociological features. Individuals who might have been received easily in normal social intercourse have traits that express attention upon themselves who turn those of us whom they meet away from themselves, breaking the claim that their other attributes have on us.

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3 responses to “Blog # 4 – Goffman 3 types of stigma

  1. caribprincess188

    Society is the main reason behind many of the stigmas Goffman described. They are different in a sense of how they create that indifference and nonconformity to the norms of society, but are all created by society and its fight in controlling individuals and not creating a disturbance in what is and what should be, almost like one cannot express themselves the way they want but the way it is “required” to.

  2. Stigma is really a strong tool to construct the sense of hierarchy. It’s really a brain wash process by the society to make a certain category, such as, black, obesity, to feel less than white and skinny people. No one likes to be stigmatized. However, in reality stigma is everywhere.

  3. The stigmas that Goffman has stated can all be seen in society. It is unfortunate that society cannot accept certain stigmas because they are not apart of the “social norms”. However, slowly but surely many stigmas such as homosexuality and breast cancer (as mentioned in class) are becoming destigmatized–this means that they are becoming accepted into our norms. I have confidence in our society to accept certain stigmas, especially in New York City.

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