Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Stereotyping and prejudice: Stigmatized groups

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 3348 words Published: 4th May 2017

Reference this

First of all I would like to consider what stigmatization is and what it means in the modern society. According to Anna Scheyett (2007), stigmatization means social stigma hanging labels. In this sense, stigmatization – is the association of any quality (usually negative) with a specific person or group of people, although this relationship is absent or is not proved. Stigma is an integral part of many stereotypes.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

It should be noted that origin of the term stigmatization is associated with the word “stigma”, which in ancient Greece called stamp on the body of a criminal or slave. Since the second half of the XIX century the word was used in a figurative sense as a “marker”, and in medicine as “a sign of illness”. Stigma – is more than just labeling. Public attitudes to the different phenomena rarely occurs quite spontaneously, without justification, it does not arise from nothing. As a fact, subconscious fear – is the main cause of any stigma. However, this fear has always supported selective reporting in the media.

As a rule, to create a social stigma to one quality that is considered to be illustrative, and a set of qualities that are attributed on the basis of having the first, as evidenced by the following examples: “Women can not drive car properly” – it is a form of stigma associated with sexism. As a fact, on average women drive car not worse than men do, although, of course, they have their own characteristics in this activity. It is important that not necessarily every woman will be greeted poorly led and well-established stigma that implies. “Germans are Nazis” – in this case it is used the collective responsibility (unacceptable humanistic morality) to justify the actions of individuals in that period. “Homosexuals have feminine behavior” – it is the transfer of features typical for some, the entire demographic group.

It should be noted that stigma can lead to discrimination as the real action that limits the rights of some groups. Though, in civilized countries a clear stigma and related discrimination are prohibited by law or condemned the culture of almost every society that saturated stigmas. For example, people who came to New York from the provinces, being labeled “provincial”. It is believed that they are less cultured than the locals; consequently, it can be said that stigma leads to discrimination.

As a matter of fact, social stigma sometimes can be couched in positive form, for example, the military can “praise” for an unusually sensible idea for a man of his profession. Such “positive” labels can be no less offensive than the stigma explicit negative direction. At the same time it should not be attributed to the discharge stigmas each offensive or ironic definition. If a man was offended in transport, it does not mean that he was stigmatized.

According to Patrick Corrigan, Amy Watson (2005), scientists distinguish following types of social stigmatization:

Cultural stigma – is social labels, rooted in the culture of the state or world culture (“New Yorkers are arrogant”).

Institutional stigma – is a legislatively fixed stigma (“a man with a criminal record”).

Personal (or inner) stigma – is a prejudice against yourself, based on involvement in anything (“I am a fatty”).

As a rule, society establishes ways of categorizing people and defines a set of qualities that are considered as normal and natural for each of the categories. The routine practice of social interaction in the current environment allows you to others familiar to people, not particularly thinking about it. Even everyday language uses special terms to refer the stigma (e.g. “cripple”, “moron”, etc.) as a figurative expression. As a rule, we do not think about their original value, and tend to attribute to man a long series of imperfections on the basis of some of them. I think that in our view, the processes of stigmatization are formed from primary school, then developed and fixed in adolescence. Term “labeling” is associated with the position of a primary school teacher, as a teacher, which is attached to the child’s socialization. He introduces children into the world of culture, and on how it is done depends how does child feels himself as a normal part of society or not. It should be taking into account that the stereotypes that were “glued” in childhood, often inadvertently fixed in the ordinary course of social interactions. There is no doubt that stigma can be created and can be reduced, but its formation occurs easier and faster.

According to Catherine Campbell, Harriet Deacon (2006), many scientists consider that parents have great influence on the stigmatization process, very often adult family members do not think about the implications of what was said at parent meetings, visiting, telephone, etc. But in my opinion stigmatization is more depends on special role of school teacher. The current organization of the educational process in schools have increased focus on the psychological and pedagogical methods for determining mental and other abilities of the child, his emotional and volitional characteristics. Such an approach is often appears a cause in fact there is only a consequence of manifestations of deeper social, cultural and other factors in the educational process.

As a member of a social group, the child or young person has certain social roles and comes with other group members and representatives of other groups in social and communication relations. Any person is included in the system of social relations, so is the “product” of social relations with others. Stigmatized identity is no exception. According to Daphna Oyserman, Janet K. Swim (2007), phenomenon of stigma is widespread in the educational process, as were evidenced by the study of U.S. schools students, conducted by sociologist in 2006. There were surveyed 448 secondary school students of different states. The study showed that as a rule students are labeled as “bully”, “whore”, “junkie”, etc. by 33,2% of teachers and 32,4% of other adults. Among the parents such occasions meets twice less – 14,2%. It seems quite all right that 71,2% of respondents indicated that teachers formally conduct educational activities in schools.

The findings suggest that in the eyes of American students responding teacher today – one of the main stigma creator, put labels on their students, and therefore, has direct relevance to the deviant behavior of students and their psychological outcast class, and informal children’s groups. This analysis suggests that the stigma – is one of the socio-cultural phenomena of the educational process resulting from a specific role identification and regulation of personal qualities. In this case, the norm and deviation from it belongs to the decisive role. Thereby, stigma in school performs the reverse side of used pedagogical techniques. In my opinion, the stigmatization of education should be investigated and deserves further research. I am convinced that this is a serious problem and society should react on such problems immediately.

As a rule, the grounds for the social stigma may act as belongs to ethnic or religious group, physical or mental disabilities; very often people such categories like drug junkie, prisoners and unemployed suffer from stigmatism. There are many definitions of social stigma, Irving Hoffman, a sociologist at the University of California, is one of the most famous scientist of the XX century, engaged in the problems of stigmatization. In his book, he defines stigma as a quality significantly damaging social group. It should be mentioned that discredit – is the central idea of the Hoffmann’s concept. As a fact, a person belonging to a stigmatized group, considered inferior, and on this basis denied the rights and privileges. According to Being Targeted By Stereotypes And Prejudice Affects Self-Control And Academic Performance (2009), people are deprived of the right to be full – the consequences of this are numerous and horrific. The majority belongs to the minority as inferior beings, flawed or dangerous, and believes that they have rights to feel anger and hate them. The majority discriminates stigmatized groups, selecting its capabilities, which should be equal for all people. For example, a landlord may refuse to pay salary to good housekeeper – a representative of stigmatized group, and employer – refuse to give a job. Moreover, most of them can terrorize the minority. Social stigma can lead to such egregious crimes such as lynching of African Americans during XX century, prostitution of Chinese women during the Second World War and the inquisitorial torture.

It should be noted that Hoffman believes that the source of stigma lies in the man himself: the base is to discredit any quality of a person. Black skin of African Americans excites prejudice. The wheelchair gives rise to the stereotype of incapacity of its owner. Smokers are obliged to the stigma of cigarettes. In these two cases, the bases for stigma are the outward signs – wheelchair and cigarettes. The irony is that the interpretation of the stigma as the inherent quality enhances the blame: it is characteristic of man that causes the bias of others.

This arise an important question: does it follow that if African Americans have had a white skin, they would not be discriminated? Edward Jones and Albert Hastorf, and their colleagues from the Center for special studies Institute for behaviorism of Stanford University discovered this discrepancy and finalized the definition of stigma. They concluded that stigma plays major role in perceptions of labels. As a fact, stigma arises not when most people see a sign, and when the majority hangs on this feature label. Black skin itself is not a label; rather, in the view of Europeans black skin means membership to the “second class” people. It leads to prejudice. Injustice arises because of viewers’ perceptions. According to Anna Scheyett (2007), Bruce Link, a physician-epidemiologist at Columbia University, summed up these arguments and based on them brought four statements – the criteria by which we can determine whether the group exposed to stigma:

The differences between people are labeled.

Beliefs that one culture is dominant comparing with others.

Majority group discriminates minority group with labels.

The group “with labels” has a lower social status and is discriminated.

As a rule, advocates of social justice will tell you that any stigma, mentioned above is a terrible sin. Anything that deprives people of social respect and individual empowerment entails irreversible consequences for the cultures in which there are such injustices. Supporters of opposing viewpoints can recall the original problem of stigma in ancient Greece, where a special mark (mark on his cheek or shoulder, special clothing) have noted the people who represented a danger to society. Stamps warned that the man – is the criminal or insane. Although this practice seems outdated, the public stigma still exists in Western countries. In most U.S. states exists the practice of registering sex offenders, so that people can, for example, check to see whether living with them in the neighborhood pedophile. Arrested for drunk driving must stick to the bumper special sticker.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

It should be mentioned that the results of scientific studies conducted over the past 30 years, suggests that the media is one of the most significant factors influencing the belief systems. Because individuals with diseases associated with stigma, usually stay in the shade. People form their attitude towards them on the basis of movies, television programs and news programs. For this reason, the media play an important role in the fight against stigma, against people with mental health problems, and media reports may be correct only if they are given correct and accurate information.

It can be said that advocates of the stigma were founded upon the main idea of conflict resolution, according to which individuals often can not get along with each other, since differ in their interests and outlook to life, with those who are in power, have opportunity to express their views and principles in the rules governing institutional life, and successfully hang the negative labels on violators of these norms. They are interested in the process by which certain individuals receive the stamp of the deviants, begin to consider their behavior as a deviant. According to Shana Levin, Colette van Laar (2004), adherents of the theory of stigma Edwin Lemert, Howard Becker and Kai Erikson argued that, firstly, action by itself has not criminal nature. “Negative” action is not due to internal content, but by how others appreciate such an act and react to it. Deviation is always a subject of social definition. Secondly, all people tend to deviant behavior associated with the violation of some rules. Proponents of this theory deny the popular idea that people can be divided into normal and that who have some pathology. For example, some exceeding the speed drive, commit shoplifting, cheating with homework, hiding income from the tax office, get drunk, have engaged in acts of vandalism in honor of the victory of his favorite football team, violate the rights of private property without permission or rolled into the car of his friend. Proponents of the theory of stigma are called such action a primary deviation, defining it as behavior that violates social norms, but usually escape the attention of law enforcement.

Third, whether the specific acts of people regarded as deviant depends on what these people are, and how the reaction of the others, i.e. this estimate depends on how the rules will prefer to strictly follow the company, in what situations and for some people. Not all those who exceeded the speed ride, shoplift, withheld revenues, violated the rights of private property, etc. For example, in U.S. African Americans are condemned for the actions, which is permissible for whites, and women – for the actions, which is permissible for men, some may be condemned for the same acts that commit them with impunity friends, individual behavior may be condemned as deviant, although it is not violate any rules, simply because they indiscriminately accused of such acts, which they may have never done (for example, a person looks “effeminate” and it labeled as a homosexual). Of particular importance is the social environment, and then denounces it as a specific individual violator of norms or not.

Fourth, the labeling on the people implies certain consequences for these people. It creates the conditions that lead to secondary deviation – deviant behavior, produced by the individual in response to sanctions imposed by others. According to Shana Levin, Colette van Laar (2004), adherents of the theory of stigma argue that such a new departure from the norm triggered hostile reactions from legislators and law-abiding citizens. The individual receives a public definition, which is built into a stereotype, and is declared by the offender like “crazy”, “forger”, “rapist”, “junkie” or “criminal”. The label helps to perpetuate the status of an individual in an outsider (“a person out of our circle”). Such a master status suppresses all other statuses of the individual in shaping his social experience and as a result of playing the role of self-fulfilling prophecy. Violators of the rules begin to perceive their status as a particular type of deviance and shape based on the status of their own lives.

Fifth, those who received the stamp by the offenders usually find that the law-abiding citizens condemn them and do not want to have business with them. They may turn away from friends and relatives, in some cases they may be jailed or put in the hospital for mental illness. Universal condemnation and isolation of stigmatized individuals is to push deviant groups, comprising people whose fate is similar to their own. Participation in the deviant subculture – is a way to cope with a critical situation, to find emotional support and an environment where you take the way you are. In turn, enter into such a deviant group strengthens the individual’s view of themselves as on the offender, promotes the development of deviant lifestyle and relax with a law-abiding environment.

Thus, according to the theory of stigma, the deviation is determined not by the behavior, and society’s response to such behavior. When the behavior of people is viewed as retreating from the accepted norms, it gives impetus to a range of social reactions. Others define and evaluate the behavior to a certain label. The offender begins to harmonize their standards further actions with such labels. In many cases, the individual produced by self-presentation, which coincides with that label, as a result he is able to embark on the path of deviation.

To sum it up, I would like to estimate theory of stigmatization. The theory of stigma, not focusing on the reasons for committing deviant acts, it helps explain why the same act may be regarded as deviant or not, depending on the situation and characteristics of the individual in question. Many proponents of the theory of stigma applied to the provisions of the theory of conflict, primarily to existing inequalities in society, to understand what are the basis of the structure and social institutions, which drawn up and enforced the laws. The theory of stigmatization has its critics. First, although the theory of stigma helps to understand how individuals become professional abjurers, it does not show what caused the original factors of deviant behavior.

Indeed, for many forms of deviation living conditions are responsible for the labeling on these people. So, it seems clear that the vast majority of people placed in the hospital for the mentally ill, experiencing severe violations associated with the inner psychological or neuralgic abnormalities. Their confusion and suffering can not be explained solely by the reactions of other people. Nevertheless, a large number of facts suggest that the professional psychiatrists provoke social manifestations of mental illness through the application of systems stigma, and not just “discover” the inner pathology or mental illness. Labels also play an important role in shaping the ideas of ex-patients clinics for the mentally ill from other members of society, and have themselves ex-patients.

Secondly, the deviation can not be understood in isolation from social norms. If the behavior is not deviant as long as it has not received such an assessment, then how to classify such secret and remained unsolved crimes as embezzlement of public money, tax evasion or secret sexual violence? Moreover, many criminals convinced that the crime is a payback to the society. One study found that a third of crimes against private property committed by the conviction of criminals in that way they can get much more than by an honest, legitimate work, and another third of crimes committed are unemployed. I think everybody must think about this situation that we created. In my opinion people should be more tolerant to each other. Of course, this will not solve stigmatism problem, but it will help mitigate contradictions in our society. Finally, like said one wise man, even the biggest trip begins with a small step.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: