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Lecture

9 - Goffman & Stigma: Chapter 4-5

4 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
Sociology 2259
Professor
Pamela Glatt

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Goffman & Stigma – Chapters 4-5 Chapter 4: • Examines how the stigmatized individuals is both “normal” yet “stigmatized” from various perspectives • We are all characters in the “social stigmatization drama” • Important to understand both points of view (the stigmatized vs. the normal) • Stigma management is a general feature of social life, a process that occurs whenever identity norms arise • Examines how the concept of “Deviance” is useful for studying the bridge between the study of “stigma” and the general study of the social world Stigmatizing Stigmas! • Important to understand the different types of stigma...not all stigmas are the same, or even comparable ◦ Also depends on who they're interacting with • What types of stigmas does society focus on? ◦ Mental illness, sexual orientation, drug use, etc • Other stigmas that most people wouldn't really consider to be stigmas off hand ◦ Tattoos, piercings, talking too much, etc. • When most people conceive the idea of stigma...they focus on very stigmatizing stigmas --> those that result in “unease” in almost any social situation ◦ Goffman: This is an inaccurate portrayal of the concept of “stigma” • To Goffman, normals represent an ordinary deviation from the mean ◦ This makes the “fully and visibly stigmatized” even more so discredited ◦ Argues that most people aren't normal at all—just an idealized norm The “Normal Curve” • Identity norms (rules/expectations on how we should) breed: ◦ Deviance ◦ Conformance • Can examine “stigma” using the idea of the “normal” curve ◦ Closest to the centre = normal deviations (more common stigmas) from the mean ◦ Outliers = uncommon deviations from the mean The Normative Predicament • Normative Predicament: problem of unsustained norms and possible outcomes of that predicament ◦ The result of identity norms breeding both deviations and conformance ◦ When someone doesn't fit into the certain norms that we have in society • 3 orientations/places in which a stigmatized individual may wish to locate themselves to handle the predicament: 1. Support/accept society's dichotomy (us vs. them), and participates as much as possible in “normal society”, but defines oneself as not fitting into the expected norms 2. Alienates/withdraw oneself from society, and become disconnected from “normal” society 3. Adapting to the norm, yet still remains attached to one's “own” • It's about a new alignment within an old frame of reference • An in-between of the first 2 Transformation • Transformation: the “normal” and the “stigmatized” are connected, part of the same role • They are extremes along a continuum (Normal Stigmatized) • The “normal” and the “stigmatized” have similar “mental make-ups” (thoughts/expectations) ...they both subscribe to the same standards in society ◦ Have the same ideas and understandings about what is considered normals and what is not normal • Those who can fit in/play out the standards to its fullest extent is considered “normal” while all others become labelled as “deviant” • Normal Deviant: new alignment within old frame of reference • Somebody can transform from being a normal into a deviant and/or back-and-forth 2-Role Social Process • 2-Role Social Process: Individual learns what is normal and what is deviant (similar to idea of front/back stage) ◦ “Normal” role—front stage ◦ “Deviant” role—back stage ◦ Over time people learn how, when, and in which setting to play both roles • Normal and stigmatized roles = more than complimentary --> include similarities and parallels ◦ Not as different as we think they are ◦ Normals and deviants often congregate with their own ◦ Both groups monitor their behaviour • 2-Headed Role Playing: the two roles (normal and deviant) ◦ Passing in both directions
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