Term of Art: Stigma

“Stigma: Although the term has a long history (in classical Greece it is referred to a brand placed on outcast groups), it entered sociology mainly through the work of Erving Goffman (Stigma, 1960). It is a formal concept which captures a relationship of devaluation rather than a fixed attribute. Goffman classifies stigmas into three types—bodily, moral, and tribal—and analyzes the ways in which they affect and effect human interactions.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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