⌛ Community Stigma

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Community Stigma

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Stigma Discrimination: Community Perspective - Bernard Chimbele Chanda

For Cyprien, people with disabilities are capable of doing many things. He says he dreams of owning his own shoe repair shop one day. He wishes society would understand them and include them better. With the generous support of the Government of Norway, UNICEF and UPHLS in collaboration with other organizations dedicated to bettering the lives of Persons with Disabilities are seeking to address the general social norms and attitudes around disabilities and the gender stereotypes embedded in, by conducting community dialogues. Other districts that will host the dialogues include Musanze, Kayonza, Kicukiro, Karongi, and Huye districts. UNICEF is committed to engage and educate the community to promote inclusion and family care for children with disabilities.

Social exclusion or discrimination may in turn result in an economic burden for the affected person and their household and may thus cause or aggravate poverty. The next chapter of this Guide explains what mental health is and how stigma and discrimination affect the mental wellbeing of stigmatised persons. Stigma or anticipation of stigma may cause affected people to conceal their condition. In addition, non-disclosure to family means loss of emotional and social support.

Because of stigma, many persons with a stigmatised health condition do not seek help. This delays the diagnosis and treatment and may worsen the health condition. The risk of disability may also increase. Stigma thus hinders the effective treatment and care of the person. More specifically, he explained that what constituted this attribute would change over time. An attribute that stigmatizes one type of possessor can confirm the usualness of another, and therefore is neither credible nor discreditable as a thing in itself.

In Goffman's theory of social stigma, a stigma is an attribute, behavior, or reputation which is socially discrediting in a particular way: it causes an individual to be mentally classified by others in an undesirable, rejected stereotype rather than in an accepted, normal one. Goffman defined stigma as a special kind of gap between virtual social identity and actual social identity :. While a stranger is present before us, evidence can arise of his possessing an attribute that makes him different from others in the category of persons available for him to be, and of a less desirable kind—in the extreme, a person who is quite thoroughly bad, or dangerous, or weak.

He is thus reduced in our minds from a whole and usual person to a tainted discounted one. Such an attribute is a stigma, especially when its discrediting effect is very extensive [ Goffman The wise normals are not merely those who are in some sense accepting of the stigma; they are, rather, "those whose special situation has made them intimately privy to the secret life of the stigmatized individual and sympathetic with it, and who find themselves accorded a measure of acceptance, a measure of courtesy membership in the clan.

An example is a parent of a homosexual; another is a white woman who is seen socializing with a black man. Limiting ourselves, of course, to social milieus in which homosexuals and ethnic minorites are stigmatized. Until recently, this typology has been used without being empirically tested. A study [9] showed empirical support for the existence of the own, the wise, and normals as separate groups; but, the wise appeared in two forms: active wise and passive wise.

Active wise encouraged challenging stigmatization and educating stigmatizers, but passive wise did not. Goffman emphasizes that the stigma relationship is one between an individual and a social setting with a given set of expectations; thus, everyone at different times will play both roles of stigmatized and stigmatizer or, as he puts it, "normal". Goffman gives the example that "some jobs in America cause holders without the expected college education to conceal this fact; other jobs, however, can lead to the few of their holders who have a higher education to keep this a secret, lest they are marked as failures and outsiders. Similarly, a middle-class boy may feel no compunction in being seen going to the library; a professional criminal, however, writes [about keeping his library visits secret].

Individuals actively cope with stigma in ways that vary across stigmatized groups, across individuals within stigmatized groups, and within individuals across time and situations. The stigmatized are ostracized, devalued , scorned, shunned and ignored. They experience discrimination in the realms of employment and housing. Although the experience of being stigmatized may take a toll on self-esteem, academic achievement, and other outcomes, many people with stigmatized attributes have high self-esteem, perform at high levels, are happy and appear to be quite resilient to their negative experiences. There are also "positive stigma": it is possible to be too rich, or too smart.

This is noted by Goffman in his discussion of leaders, who are subsequently given license to deviate from some behavioral norms because they have contributed far above the expectations of the group. This can result in social stigma. From the perspective of the stigmatizer, stigmatization involves threat, aversion [ clarification needed ] and sometimes the depersonalization of others into stereotypic caricatures. Stigmatizing others can serve several functions for an individual, including self-esteem enhancement, control enhancement, and anxiety buffering, through downward-comparison —comparing oneself to less fortunate others can increase one's own subjective sense of well-being and therefore boost one's self-esteem.

Current views of stigma, from the perspectives of both the stigmatizer and the stigmatized person, consider the process of stigma to be highly situationally specific, dynamic, complex and nonpathological. German-born sociologist and historian Gerhard Falk wrote: [18]. All societies will always stigmatize some conditions and some behaviors because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating "outsiders" from "insiders". Falk [19] describes stigma based on two categories, existential stigma and achieved stigma. He defines existential stigma as "stigma deriving from a condition which the target of the stigma either did not cause or over which he has little control.

Falk concludes that "we and all societies will always stigmatize some condition and some behavior because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating 'outsiders' from 'insiders'". The majority of stigma researchers have found the process of stigmatization has a long history and is cross-culturally ubiquitous. Bruce Link and Jo Phelan propose that stigma exists when four specific components converge: [20]. In this model stigmatization is also contingent on "access to social , economic , and political power that allows the identification of differences, construction of stereotypes , the separation of labeled persons into distinct groups, and the full execution of disapproval, rejection , exclusion, and discrimination.

Identifying which human differences are salient, and therefore worthy of labeling, is a social process. There are two primary factors to examine when considering the extent to which this process is a social one. The first issue is that significant oversimplification is needed to create groups. The broad groups of black and white , homosexual and heterosexual , the sane and the mentally ill ; and young and old are all examples of this. Secondly, the differences that are socially judged to be relevant differ vastly according to time and place. An example of this is the emphasis that was put on the size of the forehead and faces of individuals in the late 19th century—which was believed to be a measure of a person's criminal nature.

The second component of this model centers on the linking of labeled differences with stereotypes. Goffman's work made this aspect of stigma prominent and it has remained so ever since. This process of applying certain stereotypes to differentiated groups of individuals has attracted a large amount of attention and research in recent decades. Thirdly, linking negative attributes to groups facilitates separation into "us" and "them". Seeing the labeled group as fundamentally different causes stereotyping with little hesitation.

The fourth component of stigmatization in this model includes "status loss and discrimination ". Many definitions of stigma do not include this aspect, however, these authors believe that this loss occurs inherently as individuals are "labeled, set apart, and linked to undesirable characteristics. Thus, stigmatization by the majorities, the powerful, or the "superior" leads to the Othering of the minorities, the powerless, and the "inferior". Whereby the stigmatized individuals become disadvantaged due to the ideology created by "the self," which is the opposing force to "the Other.

The authors also emphasize [20] the role of power social , economic , and political power in stigmatization. While the use of power is clear in some situations, in others it can become masked as the power differences are less stark. An extreme example of a situation in which the power role was explicitly clear was the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis. On the other hand, an example of a situation in which individuals of a stigmatized group have "stigma-related processes" [ clarification needed ] occurring would be the inmates of a prison. It is imaginable that each of the steps described above would occur regarding the inmates' thoughts about the guards. However, this situation cannot involve true stigmatization, according to this model, because the prisoners do not have the economic, political, or social power to act on these thoughts with any serious discriminatory consequences.

Sociologist Matthew W. Hughey explains that prior research on stigma has emphasized individual and group attempts to reduce stigma by "passing as normal", by shunning the stigmatized, or through selective disclosure of stigmatized attributes. Yet, some actors may embrace particular markings of stigma e. Hence, Hughey argues that some actors do not simply desire to "pass into normal" but may actively pursue a stigmatized identity formation process in order to experience themselves as causal agents in their social environment. Hughey calls this phenomenon "stigma allure". While often incorrectly attributed to Goffman, the "six dimensions of stigma" were not his invention. They were developed to augment Goffman's two levels — the discredited and the discreditable.

Goffman considered individuals whose stigmatizing attributes are not immediately evident. In that case, the individual can encounter two distinct social atmospheres. In the first, he is discreditable —his stigma has yet to be revealed but may be revealed either intentionally by him in which case he will have some control over how or by some factor, he cannot control. Of course, it also might be successfully concealed; Goffman called this passing. In this situation, the analysis of stigma is concerned only with the behaviors adopted by the stigmatized individual to manage his identity: the concealing and revealing of information.

In the second atmosphere, he is discredited —his stigma has been revealed and thus it affects not only his behavior but the behavior of others. Jones et al. There are six dimensions that match these two types of stigma: [23]. In Unraveling the contexts of stigma , authors Campbell and Deacon describe Goffman's universal and historical forms of Stigma as the following. Stigma occurs when an individual is identified as deviant , linked with negative stereotypes that engender prejudiced attitudes, which are acted upon in discriminatory behavior.

Goffman illuminated how stigmatized people manage their "Spoiled identity" meaning the stigma disqualifies the stigmatized individual from full social acceptance before audiences of normals. He focused on stigma, not as a fixed or inherent attribute of a person, but rather as the experience and meaning of difference. Gerhard Falk expounds upon Goffman's work by redefining deviant as "others who deviate from the expectations of a group" and by categorizing deviance into two types:. The physically disabled, mentally ill, homosexuals, and a host of others who is labeled deviant because they deviate from the expectations of a group, are subject to stigmatization- the social rejection of numerous individuals, and often entire groups of people who have been labeled deviant.

Communication is involved in creating, maintaining, and diffusing stigmas, and enacting stigmatization. Stigma, though powerful and enduring, is not inevitable, and can be challenged. There are two important aspects to challenging stigma: challenging the stigmatization on the part of stigmatizers and challenging the internalized stigma of the stigmatized. To challenge stigmatization, Campbell et al. In relation to challenging the internalized stigma of the stigmatized, Paulo Freire 's theory of critical consciousness is particularly suitable.

Cornish provides an example of how sex workers in Sonagachi , a red light district in India, have effectively challenged internalized stigma by establishing that they are respectable women, who admirably take care of their families, and who deserve rights like any other worker. Stigmatized groups often harbor cultural tools to respond to stigma and to create a positive self-perception among their members. For example, advertising professionals have been shown to suffer from negative portrayal and low approval rates. However, the advertising industry collectively maintains narratives describing how advertisement is a positive and socially valuable endeavor, and advertising professionals draw on these narratives to respond to stigma.

Another effort to mobilize communities exists in the gaming community through organizations like:. In , an article by Hudson coined the term "organizational stigma" [35] which was then further developed by another theory building article by Devers and colleagues. Hudson differentiated core-stigma a stigma related to the very nature of the organization and event-stigma an isolated occurrence which fades away with time. A large literature has debated how organizational stigma relate to other constructs in the literature on social evaluations.

The research was undertaken to determine the effects of social stigma primarily focuses on disease-associated stigmas. Disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases are among the diseases currently scrutinized by researchers. In studies involving such diseases, both positive and negative effects of social stigma have been discovered. Recent research suggest that addressing perceived and enacted stigma in clinical settings is critical to ensuring delivery of high-quality patient-centered care.

Specifically, perceived stigma by patients was associated with additional more days of physical health of poor mental health. Moreover, perceived stigma in healthcare settings was associated with higher odds of reporting a depressive disorder. Among other findings, individuals who were married, younger, had higher income, had college degrees, and were employed reported significantly fewer poor physical and mental health days and had lower odds of self-reported depressive disorder. The researchers' objectives were to assess rates of perceived stigma in health care clinical settings reported by racially diverse New York City residents and to examine if this perceived stigma is associated with poorer physical and mental health outcomes.

They found that perceived stigma was associated with poorer healthcare access, depression, diabetes, and poor overall general health. Members of stigmatized groups may have lower self-esteem than those of nonstigmatized groups.

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