Stigma, Deviance, and Social Control

Some Conceptual Issues
  • Mark C. Stafford
  • Richard R. Scott
Part of the Perspectives in Social Psychology book series (PSPS)


One reason why it is difficult to approach the study of stigma with much confidence is that there are so many kinds. Consider just a short list: old age, paralysis, cancer, drug addiction, mental illness, shortness, being black, alcoholism, smoking, crime, homosexuality, unemployment, being Jewish, obesity, blindness, epilepsy, receiving welfare, illiteracy, divorce, ugliness, stuttering, being female, poverty, being an amputee, mental retardation, and deafness. One of the few common denominators of these characteristics may be that all of them generate ridicule and scorn. However, there is another, more important reason why the study of stigma must be approached cautiously. Conceptualization and use of the term have been so vague and uncritical that one may reasonably ask: What is a stigma? To many, the answer is simply a “flaw,” “shortcoming,” “blemish,” or “taint,” but that answer does little except to imply that stigmas are opprobrious.


Social Control Ideal Person Physical Attractiveness Normative Belief Conceptual Issue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark C. Stafford
  • Richard R. Scott

There are no affiliations available

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