Implications of the Mark
Publication Year: 2012
Contemporary notions of risk, riskiness and danger are linked to the labelling of “deviant” populations in the name of social control and risk management; these labels result in the institutional and systemic perpetuation of stereotypes and stigmatic attitudes. The research presented in this book addresses the individual experience of symbolic stigma as well as the collective impact of structural stigma. With unique, personal vignettes that position each of the academic contributors in relation to their subjects, this collection of essays challenges social science researchers to understand their own role in reproducing and contesting hegemonic discourses that stigmatize and marginalize.
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
We would like to thank the people who have contributed to the creation of this volume: First, and foremost, we thank the participants in the various research projects presented in this book who took the time and gave of themselves to share their stories...
Ervin Goffman’s seminal book Stigma (1963), published almost half a century ago, has inspired generations of students, researchers, and scholars (including the editors and contributors to this volume) who draw on the conceptual tools as they seek to “make sense” of the social world. In the last decade, we have seen an exciting body of work...
1 - Speaking Out
She’s not speaking to me. She’s speaking to a guy standing beside her at the bus stop. I’m a few feet away from them on the corner, listening while waiting to cross. I’m still trying to decide if she’s crazy and, if so, what sort of crazy she is, but his mind is evidently already...
2 - Theorizing Stigma and the Politics of Resistance
The goal of this book is to examine the social phenomenon of stigma as a substantive, everyday experience, and to contextualize the lived realities of stigmatized and marginalized persons theoretically. We need to appreciate that stigma is both symbolically realized in individual interactions and structurally embedded in the cultural values...
3 - The Mark of Racialization
On September 11, 2001, a series of attacks occurred in the United States of America. Four commercial airliners were hijacked by a group1 of Muslim men from the Middle East. Two of the planes were flown into the World Trade Center (known as the Twin Towers) in New York City, one struck the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and another crashed...
4 - The Mark of “Disreputable” Labour
Feminists have long drawn attention to the whore stigma’s implicit subtext of female unworthiness and dishonour, and demonstrated how the good girl/ bad girl dichotomy splinters the female element and inhibits unified challenges to patriarchal power (Pheterson, 1996). Without questioning the validity (or indeed the..
5 - The Mark of Sexual Deviance
In February of 1975, John Damien was dismissed from his job as a horse racing judge by the Ontario Jockey Commission when his sexual orientation as a gay man became known. Concerned that same-sex orientation might make one susceptible to blackmail, the boss offered a cash bribe and told Damien to resign. Damien refused and was...
6 - The Mark of Association
As the authors throughout this volume demonstrate, symbolic and structural stigmas are attached to those characteristics that are best described as “undesirable” or risk-laden within a particular social and political milieu. Certainly criminality, sexual deviance, ethnic minority status, and mental illness are some of the most salient...
7 - The Stigma of Mental Illness
It was after the fateful night in January that I described in my prologue that I began to read all I could find about self-injurious behaviour. I wanted to learn what this behaviour was, what it meant, and most importantly, why my friend would do this to herself. I discovered the book Rock-a-bye Baby by Anne Kershaw and Mary Lasovich (1991...
8 - Speaking Out
Notwithstanding recent attempts to depict race as an artificial construct of governing bodies, I consider myself white. Sixty-four years ago, I was born into an upper-middle class family that traces its roots to northern European immigrants who entered this country not long after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth. I did not question in my formative...
9 - The Mark of Criminality
Few identities1 receive more mainstream media attention than that of the “criminal.” Prime-time television is filled with police dramas, crime scene investigations, crime stories on the news, true-crime biographies, and series which profile a particular criminal and construct him as dangerous (Altheide 2002; Altheide and Devriese...
10 - Speaking Out A Poem and a Conversation
11 - Concluding Thoughts | Academic Activism: A Call to Action
The situations and experiences presented in this book vary widely, however, the substantive themes are recurring: marginalized groups are profoundly affected by stigma at both the interpersonal and structural levels; individuals find themselves grappling with the effects of stereotype and stigma on their interactions with others and on their understandings...