Rethinking the sociology of stigma

Tyler, Imogen Elizabeth and Slater, Tom (2018) Rethinking the sociology of stigma. The Sociological Review, 66 (4). pp. 721-743. ISSN 0038-0261

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Abstract

Stigma is not a self-evident phenomenon but like all concepts has a history. The conceptual understanding of stigma which underpins most sociological research has its roots in the groundbreaking account penned by Erving Goffman in his best-selling book Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (1963). In the 50 years since its publication, Goffman's account of stigma has proved a productive concept, in terms of furthering research on social stigma and its effects, on widening public understandings of stigma, and in the development of anti-stigma campaigns. However, this introductory article argues that the conceptual understanding of stigma inherited from Goffman, along with the use of micro-sociological and/or psychological research methods in stigma research, often sidelines questions about where stigma is produced, by whom and for what purposes. As Simon Parker and Robert Aggleton argue, what is frequently missing is social and political questions, such as 'how stigma is used by individuals, communities and the state to produce and reproduce social inequality'. This article expands on Parker and Aggleton's critique of the limitations of existing conceptual understandings of stigma, through an examination of the anti-stigma campaign Heads Together. This high-profile campaign launched in 2016 seeks to 'end the stigma around mental health' and is fronted by members of the British Royal Family. By thinking critically with and about this campaign, this article seeks to both delineate the limitations of existing conceptual understandings of stigma and to begin to develop a supplementary account of how stigma functions as a form of power. We argue that in order to grasp the role and function of stigma in society, scholarship must develop a richer and fuller understanding of stigma as a cultural and political economy. The final part of this introduction details the articles to follow, and the contribution they collectively make to the project of rethinking the sociology of stigma. This collection has been specifically motivated by: (1) how reconceptualising stigma might assist in developing better understandings of pressing contemporary problems of social decomposition, inequality and injustice; (2) a concern to decolonise the discipline of sociology by interrogating its

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Sociological Review
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Sociological Review, 66 (4), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Sociological Review page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/sor on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3312
Subjects:
ID Code:
126493
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
23 Jul 2018 10:46
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
25 Oct 2020 06:38