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Stigma Hardcover – 1970


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (1970)
  • ASIN: B0043KF3NW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,307,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erving Goffman was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania until his death in 1982. He is recognized as one of the world's foremost social theorists and much of his work still remains in print. Among his classic books are The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life; Interaction Ritual; Stigma; Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity; and Frame Analysis. William B. Helmreich is a professor of sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and City College. He has written Against All Odds, The Enduring Community, Saving Children, and The Things They Say Behind Your Back all available from Transaction.

Customer Reviews

Goffman examines the strategies employed, and which strategies are most effective.
krebsman
My grand daughter is studying to be a child psychologist and it was on her need to read list!
Mary Winchel
"The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" is another excellent learning experience.
M. M. Hunt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 202 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I happened upon Stigma in the Tufts University Library on a Saturday afternoon in 1968 while I was looking for something else. I took it down from the shelf, read a paragraph, and then knelt between the stacks to read it straight through - hurrying, shaking a little from fear that someone might come along to stop me, forbid me the book. Or that I might lose my courage, or my sense of identification, and revert to thinking that I did not need to hear what was being said. I grew up crippled from a very early age (perhaps polio, perhaps congenital hip dysplasia). I had also been traumatized and further physically injured by a decade (ages 2-12) of 1940's orthopedic work. I reached age 13 weeping, stammering, weighing 73 lb, with noticeably poor bladder control. By age 28, when I read Stigma, I weighed 87 lb, smoked incessantly, drank sherry at breakfast, and (although unbelievably, impossibly married) was - like a high-fashion model or a female marathoner -sexually only marginal. I had never stopped liking my body (if not its appearance) or being grateful for all the ways in which its physical intelligence was intact, but until I read Stigma I did not know how to cope with the shame and social vulnerability that being crippled had created -except to follow my mother's cryptic advice, "Just stare right back." That afternoon in the empty library was worth five years of individual psychotherapy. It set me on a line of march that led directly to an amicable divorce, the National Organization for Women, Alcoholics Anonymous, and another 20 lb.
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By S. Pactor VINE VOICE on November 10, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These the second Erving Goffman book that I've read this year (the other being "Asylums", please see my review on Amazon.com if interested).
I work as a criminal defense attorney and I read "Asylums" in an effort to gain perspective on the attitudes of institutionalized persons (i.e. convicts). I was suprised by how brilliant "Asylums" was, so I picked up "Stigma". I was similarily impressed with Stigma.
Where "Asylums" dealt with the relationship of individuals and institutions, "Stigma" deals more with inter personal relationships. The role of instituions in forming identity is noted in footnotes throughout, but the primary focus is in discussing the relationship between identity and stigma.
Goffman, of course, defines the dickens out of his concepts. If you gain nothing else from this book, you will have a thorough understanding of what it means to have a "stigma". The heart of the book consists of Goffman defining a five phase process which individuals with stigma go through. First you learn what it is to be "normal". Then you learn you're not "normal". Then you learn to control disclosure of information about your stigma, then you learn to "pass" as someone without a stigma and then you learn how to "voluntarily disclose" your stigma.
I don't have a degree in sociology, so I'm not sure about the theoretical backgrounding of this approach, but it made sense to me.
The best part of this book was the end, where Goffman argues (persuaively, I thought) that even "Normal" people have to deal with some sort of stigma at some time in their life.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By "khk@mediaone.net" on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This text was assigned reading in a Psych101 back in 1970, but its themes have stayed with me so strongly I am now ordering it for my personal library. I was born with a club foot, and experienced the power of being different, even though my personal defect was so minor as to be rarely noticed by others. STIGMA gave me an appreciation of the force behind my own shame and the reaction to my difference of others. More importantly, I learned about the degrees of identity-- which differences make the most difference (sex, race, disabilities...) and the increasing intensity that comes with breaking the most closely held norms. A classic study.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By a reader on April 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although this is a slim book it is more rich in detail and insight than many texts twice its size. Goffman is both a genius and a brilliant writer. His theory is clearly elucidated throughout the text by real life anecdotes. The book opens with a letter to a "lonelyhearts" column from a girl "born without a nose" which concludes "Ought I commit suicide?" This sets the tone for a book that pulls no punches and comprehensively addresses the alienation of those different from what is perceived to be "normal". I hope that this text is being promoted at secondary school level, and it is certainly essential reading for anyone whose work involves dealing with people.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Curry on May 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
In Stigma, Goffman classifies two different types of persons. the discredited and the discreditable. The Discredited are those whose stigma is known by the "normals," and the Discreditable are those whose stigma is not yet know but rather balancing in a precarious situation. The discredited are concerned with "managing tension"; that which is brought about by the stigma.Conversely, the discreditable are concerned with "managing information" as to not let others know of his/her stigma. It is through this framework that Goffman provides a detailed look into the lives of those who have been burden to posses a stigma. An insightful read for "normals" and most importantly for the stigmatized.
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