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Dorothy Pawluch

STIGMAMANAGEMENT Case Study: Handling the Stigma of Handling the Dead William Thompson Stigma involved in death industry Not a clear example of career stigma but close to it People avoid saying where they work and just say they work in the service industry Methods: qualitative interviews (N=20) content analysis Findings: 1. passing or concealment 2. symbolic redefinition – words beneath 3. role distance and emotional detachment – their issue, people are part of our culture and they will socialize deviance in the attitudes as well. People working in funeral homes deal with working here at thinking of themselves are technicians. They separate their work and think of it as a technical work rather than preparing for a funeral. They create that distance. “when in the preparation room I don’t think of who im working on, but just as what im doing. I separate all emotions.” Another person would take into account who the person was, the life they lead, appreciate the time they spent on earth – marking their present and not their end – for her this worked better than denying the person to be there. It reinforced why she chose this profession as oppose to other people. She thought she was there for the right reason and this resectful attitude towards what she was doing confirmed her decision. 4. Humour – deal with stigma by bringing this in “black humour” – people backstage know the intensity of their job (nurses and doctors) but they need to release the tension and nervous energy – not burn out 5. countering the stereotype – people in this industry know we think of them as being weird morbid, doubting the rewards they get form doing this job. People try to counter that by wearing colours other than black but similar like blue or grey (being respectful but not reinforcing the stereotypes). 6. stress on service They put the emphasis on service – they are there to help them and proide service and not a mortition They are not professional grief counsellors, they are professionals in providing services 7. enjoying SES ($) over occupational prestige end of the day they are getting money for their family and that’s what matters irving Goffman – front stage and back stage often fams show themselves one way and are another way privately publically you would never hear these words (and so people in the funeral business must avoid these words): NOT Dead (use pass now) Death (eternal slum, sorrow, loss)
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