Daily Archives: May 12, 2014

Blog #4 Goffman and Stigma

Goffman’s definition of stigma is “a discrepancy between actual and virtual social identity that causes us to alter our estimation of them downward.” In todays society there is often a stigma which isn’t just related to one person but to a group of people as a whole. Stigmas don’t just pop in and out for fun, but can rather be created through ones actions. In addition even though a single person’s actions may put a stigma on ones self, it does in a way start to form or characterize an opinion about a group of people as a whole. An example would be the attack on september 11. Most young children at the time would be ignorant to the idea of terrorism or the differences in race. But because of the actions of a few people(Terrorist), people would start to generate of characterize the idea that islamic people are associated with terrorism. Now younger generations growing up will have this stigma attached to them even though they have nothing to do with the actions of others. All in all stigmas can be attached to anyone or to even a group of people. Its not the way things are suppose to be but it is what society allows.


When I think Fashion I always think clothes and culture. What is new on the market and attractive. It is comprehensive of areas such as; style of dress, cuisine, literature, art, architecture, fashion trends and many other popular factors. Fashion trends often change rapidly and as stated by Simmel can be recycled to be reused.
The expression “fashion” is frequently used as a substitute for style, glamour and beauty. However the term “fashion” can have negative associations of vogues and styles, and greed.

The video on North Korea presenting on various area on Seoul Fashion week was interesting to see how far individuals would go to look Immaculate to perfection and how far they went to perfect perfection. In Gangnam Fashion was everything. Kids took their outfit seriously. During the video Donald King a barber explained that things are changing as what was considered odd is fashion. He expressed that the Korean society is losing their originality for example in music. It was interesting to learn about Korea’s fashion; however I was totally astounded by the Double eyelid plastic surgery and other area of the face that is as common practice and common as “going to the dentist”.
I am shocked by the idea that Korean individuals chose to have a Western face and they are so popular with this practice that they even surpass Brazil which is a country most known for plastic surgery. Another surprise was that one out of five young girls would have done this surgery as if it was nothing. To me it is a lack of total confidence. I understand that someone can have plastic surgery if someone had and accident and was left disfigured or was burn beyond recognition. I don’t agree nor understand to want to look like another culture or another person. This is insane and unethical. We are all created to have a unique look. One girl states that she wants to be accepted by the Chinese. So is it about getting the man of your dream? If the Chinese is discriminative obviously it’s an irrational decision. Is it worth the pain and agony because after all at the end of the day your genes remain the same and your children will resemble the original you. Now what will become of these children? I can only imagine the complex of inferiority they could develop.

Blog #5: Merton’s Theory of Anomie

Merton defines anomie as the social strain and mismatch between culturally prescribed goals and our socially constructed means to achieve those goals. Because not everyone is equally able to achieve the goals, some adapt in deviant ways. Merton explains that there are five ways in which people adapt. Some people conform and accept the goals of society without any deviant behavior. Most people fall into this category. Another way people adapt is through retreatism; rejecting the goals and pressures of society. This type of person would be like a drug addict or outcast. Ritualists are overconformists who follow the patterns of society but do not expect to achieve the goals. Ritualism is not deviant. Innovation accepts the prescribed goals but through illegitimate ways. Merton says that innovation is a deviant characteristic of the lower class. Lastly, rebellion rejects the goals of society as well as the means. Their goal instead is to transform the existing structure of society, this is political deviance. People that rebel are usually members of a rising class wanting to change society for the better.

Blog #5: Power of Stigmas

Goffman’s theory of stigmas explain just how powerful they can be. Society has a way of grouping people into categories based on certain attributes. Everyone is guilty of this simply because we are one with society. First, Goffman explains stigma as being, “a discrepancy between actual and virtual social identity that causes us to alter our estimation of them downward.” This is the relationship between an attribute and a stereotype. An example of this would be having many tattoos. In some professions it is completely normal but for others it is not. A good point brought up in class when discussing this same example, is that it all depends on the location of the tattoo(s) and whether they are visible. This leads to Goffman’s next point when he mentions that some stigmas are “known about” and some are not. If it is not known about then that person is seen as normal (discreditable- e.g. Not knowing how to read); however if it is known about than it is not (discrediting- e.g. Obesity, physical disabilities). I can definitely agree with this because if a stigma was originally not obvious or “known about” but suddenly revealed, your view/opinion/idea may, in some cases, negatively change about that individual. This is all because of the “norms” society has implemented for everyone to follow. I can see why opening up about something that is not particularly “normal” can be extremely difficult. However, if you are the individual who does not have a “known” stigma, most of your time is spent managing the information related to your stigma. Individuals in this dilemma may desperately attempt to conceal their stigmatizing attributes in a conscious strategy to pass which can put a lot of stress and pressure on you.

Post #5 Stigma

Last class we discussed about “Stigma”. Goffman definition of stigma is “a discrepancy between actual and virtual social identity that causes us to alter our estimation of them downward”. In other words, stigma is someone’s action that devastates normal identity in a society, culture, etc. Stigma is considered as an attribute that is intensely degrading; in fact there is a strong relationship between attribute and stereotype. I chose a good example given in class to describe this relationship of attribute and stereotype ” A middle class boy may have no problem being seen going to the library whereas a gang member may worry about being seen by his associates”.

Stigma has changed overtime. In my country Dominican Republic for example if you had a tattoo you were considered as a criminal or delinquent. However more and more people now are having tattoos and the stigma about it has changed, although the old generation will always be more opposed to it. Stigmas differ around the world; as compared to my country having a tattoo here in the U.S.A is considered something more normal and even as something “pretty and meaningful”.

There are two kinds of stigma, one is discredited and one is discreditable. Discredited stigma focuses on attention and is something that is obvious and known as a physical disability or an inability to read; while discreditable stigma focuses on managing information and something we cannot know about it, for example a heart disease or a psychological problem can pass as normal (no known) which is known as “passing”.

Blog #4: Merton’s Deviance Typology

Merton explores the theory of structural functionalism by explaining deviance/non-conformity. He says that relationships between various social institutes that make up our society such as, government, law, education, religion, etc., are responsible for this. These things produce “anomie” when the level of expectations in society are unclear. In general, there may be moral confusion. Individuals in society must make a connection between their values and morals in order to meet their goals; however this may be difficult for some. When this is unclear, individuals in society tend to deviate in order to adapt. Merton describes the different ways of adapting in five ways: conformity, ritualism, retreatism, innovation, and rebellion. 

The most controversial out of the bunch in my opinion is rebellion. Rebellion occurs when individual(s) in society are simply “fed up” of the institutional norms of society and attempt to completely change them. In the video, Reading the Riots, the English society lashed out against the government. I believe that the superior mode of adaptation was rebellion; however many conformed to the actions of others at the time being simply because everyone was doing it. This “rebellion” was a symbol for change where many refused to conform to the ways of the government through looting, protesting, and violence. This shows just how powerful anomie is and how detrimental it can be to society. 

Post #4 Race-Racism

Risk Factor - Ethnic Background

What is Race? Well DuBois defines races as ” The conception or the doctrine that nature produced humankind in distinct groups, each defined by inborn traits that its members share and that differentiate them from members of other distinct groups of the same kind but unequal rank”. In more comprehensible words, race refers to the categorization of humans according to their ethnicity, religion, culture, geographical location, etc., and most perceptible by individuals’ skin color, eye color, hair texture and physical appearance.

The other day I was reading an article about this topic that say that all human today are 99.9%genetically identical, which mean that “races” are primarily cultural created and not a biological phenomenon. This reminded me the class discussion we had about race where the professor was telling us that race is a myth because there is not a biological explanation for it but still it is real and we see it in our everyday life. 

Race comes along with racism. As stated on the book “Race is the principle unit and core concept of racism”. DuBouis used the concept “whiteness” as a social construct in reference to the time of slavery where white people see themselves superiors to others and they tend to be the slaves (the negro) owners. Racism is something real and still exists today. Like 3 days ago I was in the hair salon and a girl was having a conversation on the her phone; she was talking about someone she met who didn’t speak English that well and she was like “I don’t like to talk with people who cant pronounce English perfectly is just so annoying” this really upset me since English is my second language and I don’t pronounce it perfectly. You can see this kind of situations everyday; many people are so racist and love to discriminate others.