Stigma Analysis

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Introduction Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity by Erving Goffman, was first published in 1963. As a sociologist, Goffman was primarily interested in the perspective of symbolic interactionism, micro-level interactions especially how individuals present themselves to others as actors in different situations which he saw as analogous to performance on a theatrical stage, thus following a dramaturgical approach to interactions in the social world. In Stigma, the dramaturgical, symbolic interactionist approach is highlighted with Goffman’s analysis of how people convey or conceal social information about themselves, particularly in relation to stigmatized individuals’ attempts to hide their stigma and reduce their stigmatization…show more content…
As with all social knowledge stigma is dialogically constructed that is, we are born into social worlds already permeated with attitudes, values and prejudices, and we are active participants in the ongoing reproduction, dissemination and contestation of stigma. Thus the stigmatized individual’s identity is dialogically constructed as with all identities that is, one must learn what is ‘normal’ in order to understand that one is ‘not normal’. Through socialization, a stigmatized individual learns and incorporates the standpoint of the normal and also learns the consequences of possessing their stigmatized attribute and this is essentially because the stigmatized and the normal are social products of the same set of norms and…show more content…
However, in modern times, the distribution of stigma symbols is radically different due to transformation in demographic, social, political and economic context. Modern educational and political efforts tend to yield gradual social acceptance that may be slowly diminishing the stigmatization. Changes in the political and social climate, particularly as a result of the impacts of multiculturalism and the embracement of wider social identities, have given way to a situation in which who and what is normal and therefore the question of who stigmatizes whom, is under constant revision. Thus Goffman’s theory of stigma does not consider how stigmatized individuals disavow dominant perspectives regarding the distribution of stigma. In analysing the tension management between the stigmatized and the normal, Goffman seems to assert that society exerts much effort and time into this mental game. However, in reality, many encounters with the disabled or otherwise different people are temporary and
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