Stigma as a Social and Cultural Construct

  • Gaylene Becker
  • Regina Arnold
Part of the Perspectives in Social Psychology book series (PSPS)


Much of the sociological and psychological literature on stigma focuses on the individual as the central unit of analysis, with little if any discussion devoted to the sociohistorical context or the cultural milieu within which the individual experiences stigma. With this focus, however, an important key to understanding the puzzle of stigma is omitted. It is our contention that modes of analysis that begin with the social, cultural, and historical contexts of stigma provide a necessary framework from which to view the individual. In this chapter on stigma, we address the gap in the literature by presenting three levels of analysis: the socio-structural, the cultural, and the individual. Our aim is to reveal the social and cultural backdrop against which stigma occurs, including who disqualifies whom from social acceptance and the nature of the interactions between stigmatized persons and non-stigmatized persons.


Social Movement Disable People Cultural Meaning Cultural Construct Great Stigmatization 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaylene Becker
  • Regina Arnold

There are no affiliations available

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