Sociological Forum

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 387–414 | Cite as

Culture and Stigma: Popular Culture and the Case of Comic Books

Article

This paper argues that a better articulated conception of stigma can enhance the analysis of popular culture. Beginning with the work on stigma by Erving Goffman and other scholars, the article contends that the stigma sometimes attached to the production and consumption of popular culture is distinct from the low status associated with certain forms of popular culture. Unlike low status, stigma discredits cultural forms and practitioners often rendering them problematic. This reassessment of stigma is applied and developed further through a study of comic books, showing the various ways stigma can operate in popular culture. The analysis suggests that stigma significantly impeded the evolution of the comic book as an art form, illustrating the potential negative effects of stigma in popular culture.

KEY WORDS:

popular culture stigma status culture mass media 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyColgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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