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Stigma and Social Inequality

Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

Since the publication in 1963 of Goffman’s book, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity the use of stigma concepts has grown enormously. For scores of stigmatizing circumstances the stigma concept provides a way to give expression to the social predicaments people encounter. As stigma encompasses devaluation, degradation, and discrimination it is intimately connected to processes of social inequality. In this chapter we provide reflections on the origins of social scientific attention to stigma and then provide concepts related to (1) what stigma is, (2) how stigmatizing circumstances differ one from the other, (3) why people stigmatize, (4) how stigma produces social inequality, and (5) how people seek to resist stigma. We end with a consideration of how broadly stigma affects inequality when we consider its affects for multiple stigmatized groups and for multiple social, personal and economic outcomes.

Keywords

  • Stigma
  • Stereotyping
  • Labeling
  • Discrimination
  • Exclusion
  • Social inequality

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Correspondence to Bruce G. Link .

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Link, B., Phelan, J., Hatzenbuehler, M. (2014). Stigma and Social Inequality. In: McLeod, J., Lawler, E., Schwalbe, M. (eds) Handbook of the Social Psychology of Inequality. Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9002-4_3

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