In Greek and Latin, a stigma was a mark or brand, especially one that marked a slave, so a stigma marked a person as inferior. When the plural form stigmata is used, it usually refers to the nail wounds on Christ's hands and feet, wounds which have sometimes reappeared on the hands or feet of later worshippers such as St. When stigma began to be used in English, it usually meant the kind of mark or stain you can't actually see. So today we hear about the stigma of homelessness, the stigma of overweight, and the stigma of mental illness.
This article addresses the sociological function of deviance, looks at Erving Goffman's types of stigma, including his six dimensions of stigma, and his discussion of the stigmatized and stigmatizers.
It considers labeling theory in understanding stigma further and discusses several stigmatized groups in an attempt to understand the extent these negative labels can be damaging. Postmodernism is looked at as a critique of the interactionist approach.
Social Stigmas Overview A stigma is a negative label given to someone because of characteristics that go against the dominant norms of a society.
These characteristics might be physical, ideological, or stem from some action the person has done or not done in the past.
The stigmatized person is labeled as inferior and "marked" in society. Stereotypes, or generalizations, accurate or not, must be created and embraced in order for stigmas to be maintained. Placement in these negative categories almost always ensures a loss of status in the society.
The stigmatized include those who have physical e. Stigma also can follow those who are considered deviant because of something they have done, such as the criminally deviant.
Stigmas can be applied to people with certain health conditions e. Our use of the term stigma comes from the same ancient Greek word that meant "tattoo" or "mark.
Several social theorists have argued that stigmas have some serious social consequences in that they require the process of creating a category into which the stigmatized person is placed Becker, When the group is created e.
This results in great frustration for the stigmatized, who may become defensive and seem to be reacting irrationally. This reinforces the notion that the person is different and seemingly justifies the placement of the person in the category. This self-sustaining system is part of a larger discussion of the creation in the eighteenth century of asylums.
In his compelling work Madness and Civilization: Birth of the Asylum, Michel Foucault details how, before modern medicine created its particular system of categorization, those we now call mentally ill were considered touched by some force unknown to people, whether it was God or the devil.
But as Enlightenment ideas began to be used to understand the world from a position of reason, explanations that were based in science were considered. Four categories of mental illness eventually emerged: While the categories were originally designed to help treat mental illness, they also created labels that, once applied, become very difficult to remove.
In this same vein, many sociologists have identified a stigma as a label that seems almost irreversible.The American Sociological Association, Obesity, Labeling, and Psychological Distress in Black and White Girls: The Distal Effects of Stigma Modified labeling theory (MLT) extends stigma theory in that it implies that stigmatized characteristics are internalized to such an extent that their effects may outlive the discredited attribute.
Labeling theory is based on the idea that behaviors are deviant only when society labels them as such.
Within criminology studies, labeling theorists argue that . LABELING THEORY Sociologyindex, Sociology Books Labeling theory arose from the study of deviance in the late 's and early 's and was a rejection of consensus theory or . Labeling theory is rooted in the idea of the social construction of reality, which is central to the field of sociology and is linked to the symbolic interactionist perspective.
As an area of focus, it flourished within American sociology during the s, thanks in large part to sociologist Howard Becker. negative “unintended consequences stigma has a range of knock-on effects, all of which further marginalise and threaten the wellbeing of people who use drugs The relationship between criminalisation, stigma of society Indeed, as well as the potential sentence itself.
The Effects of Labeling Students In this video we see all the negative affects of labeling and the stigma that follows.
Are there Pros of labeling? What do you think these Pros are? Labeling and Knowing: A reconciliation of implicit theory and explicit theory among students with .