This book is about stigma, a topic that is both elusive and perplexing. Yet stigma is an everyday phenomenon, partially known to everyone who even temporarily slips beyond the bounds of social acceptability. Stories of the stigmatized and indeed the stigmatizing process itself are as close as a newspaper on the doorstep. Furthermore, the concept of stigma elicits numerous adjectives that testify to its ephemeral quality. In this chapter alone, for example, we speak of the paradoxes of stigma, its ambiguity, its variety, and the polarities it engenders. Even while attempting to define stigma, we will tell you that such a task is difficult because notions of stigma are bound by culture, time, and society. What is more, we discuss the general misconceptions social scientists have about stigma, how much has been overlooked, and how little is yet known.
KeywordsTheory Building Disciplinary Perspective Stigmatize Person Everyday Phenomenon Stigmatize Condition
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