MIT21A_218JS10_lec06

MIT21A_218JS10_lec06 - DEVIANCE, STIGMA, FREE WILL, SANITY,...

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DEVIANCE, STIGMA, FREE WILL, SANITY, RATIONALITY, AND THE OUTER LIMITS OF IDENTITY Read: Rhodes 1-224 I. Characteristics of stigmatization A. Negative trait, due to 1. Individual characteristic a. Disease, disability b. Rhodes: “dingy” (stigmatized) 2. Or resulting from membership in a group a. Race, ethnicity b. Widows are anomalous in some societies, and stigmatized because they shouldn’t exist 3. Of course, an individual characteristic will result in your being assigned to a group B. Frequently, but not always, stigmatized people are deviant in the statistical sense—i.e., unusual 1. However, categories containing large numbers of people may be stigmatized 2. DISCUSS : Examples? C. Original meaning: visible sign, not necessarily negative 1. Unusual, and due to a strange cause 2. The cross on tops of hands caused by a supernatural being 3. A superficial feature (religious “stigmata”) a. That reveals grace, holiness, innocence, etc., within D. Erving Goffman, famous sociologist 1. Stigma results in a “spoiled identity” 6 Deviance, Disability, “Insane,” Free Will 2010 12/14/2010
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2 2. Begins famous book Stigma with a letter written by a girl to a newspaper columnist asking for help; she was born without a nose II. Stigmatizing processes A. Categorization and generalization 1. People who share a characteristic feature (“the mark” 1 —which refers to whatever elicits stigmatization) 2. Are lumped into a group and are seen to share certain other basic personal characteristics as well 3. Fairly superficial features are seen to indicate more fundamental traits that lead to deviant behavior or deficiencies of character B. Stigma is an extreme form of categorical inference: 1. It often “engulfs” the identity of the individual, because the objectionable characteristics attributed become highly salient C. For the most part, stigma is accompanied by very negative affect on the part of the stigmatizers 1. The affect elicited may be more complex than simple negative reactions a. Sometimes fascination appears—there may not be a feeling of abhorrence at all 1) Little children will react this way b. Pornography sometimes includes people considered to be defective—obese, deformed 1) This kind of pornography is playing with excess extremes and shock, seeking to invert what ordinarily is attractive 2) So, the reaction might be a blend of fascination with repulsion D. Classic stigma: 1. Visible features are seen to be an index of (to point to) 1 Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity . Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963.
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3 a. The presence of more fundamental, invisible traits that are seen to produce deviant behavior or deficiencies of character
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MIT21A_218JS10_lec06 - DEVIANCE, STIGMA, FREE WILL, SANITY,...

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