Lecture 15 Review

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Lecture 15 Review: Stigma, Part 2
According to Goffman, “personal identity” is NOT a stable and independent entity… it is constantly
remade as the person interacts with others.
Strangers: Stereotypes
o With strangers, people are stereotyping and the reactions that people give off are stereotypical
o This is because you have no information about them makes you automatically make
assumptions about people
o We don‟t know the person‟s biography
Mixed Contacts: Gradual sympathy & understanding
o Categorical reaction recedes and as you gain personal information about people you get a more
realistic idea about who the person really is „breaking through‟
Intimates: play a special role
o People you have intimate relationships someone who is close to you
o Important because they help the stigmatized person to manage their spoiled identity
Virtual: how people see you
Actual: who you „really‟ are (even though there is no such thing as an „authentic self‟)
Information Control
Related to the concepts of “discreditable” and “discredited”
Related to the concepts of “virtual” and “actual” identity
Intimate Relationships: Those who are “knowing” – help the stigmatized to manage their social
We are very selective with what information we give to other people
Personal Identity
¨Is related to BIOGRAPHY and how we know ourselves….
¨In some ways we can carefully construct what is “put out there”
¨The notion of personal identity has a very structured, routine, standardizing role in social
Biographical others social worlds of people which collide with our own
o Must be careful because some of these are in the knowing and others are not those in the
knowing can reveal information about you
People do try to acquire an identity that is not their “own”…
Name: one of the strongest identity pegs yet it is likely the easiest to tamper with…
Who changes their name?
It creates a breach between two worlds and is related to biography
Double Life
Concealing discreditable facts…
Unapparent facts that are incompatible with present claims
This is what one tries to conceal when “passing
Double Double Life
When people think you are what you are and don‟t realize that there is an identity in need of
Moving in two circles.
Two separate biographies that don‟t intertwine
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