Goffman 's Theory Of Social Stigma Essay

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3. Theoretical Framework Erving Goffman’s theory of social stigma (1963) will be used as a guideline for the thesis and will act as a basis for further research on personal and perceived depression stigma. Stigma is a deeply discrediting attribute which has a strong relationship to stereotype (Goffman, 1963) Goffman defines stigma as a gap between “virtual social identity and actual social identity” and states that stigmata are bodily signs which deviate from the norm (Goffman, 1963). According to him, three different types of stigma exist: (1) physical deformities, (2) blemishes of individual character and (3) tribal stigma. (1) Physical deformities: abominations of the body (2) Blemished of individual character: weak will, domineering or unnatural passions, treacherous and rigid beliefs, dishonesty, mental disorder, imprisonment, addiction, alcoholism, homosexuality, unemployment, suicidal attempts, radical political behavior (3) Tribal stigma: race, nation, religion Furthermore, Goffman introduces the reader to two main groups of characters in his logic: the “normal” and the stigmatized and classifies the stigmatized again into the discredited and the discreditable. The discredited show an obvious discrepancy between their actual and their virtual social identity, while the discreditable do not immediately show their differentness. Additionally, the reader gets introduced to the terms (1) social information, (2) symbols, (3) status symbols and (4) stigma symbols
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