Topic 2 Defining stigma

Αn "attribute that is deeply discrediting" and that reduces the bearer "from a whole and usual person to a tainted, degraded one" (Goffman 1963, p. 3)
Erving Goffman
Sociologist
From the word stizo (Greek) which means create a sign on a surface. Its original meaning also referred to the tattoo that was cut or burnt into the skin of criminals or slaves in order to identify them and to avoid them in public places (Goffman, 1963)
Erving Goffman
Sociologist
Destigmatization process is part of mental health promotion
Erving Goffman
Sociologist
  • Stigma is related with mental health, health (especially for people with HIV), race, age, gender, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation
  • Some individuals can be members of a group with multiple stigmatization, e.g. a former prisoner stated: I am an outcast four times over. … Ex-con, ex-junkie, black, and HIV-positive’ (Wynn, 2001)
  • Stigma has been studied mainly in terms of mental illness