Stigma.The Body Essay

2975 words - 12 pages

STIGMAThe aim of this paper is not to give an outright answer to the term 'stigma'. Firstly we have to try and define stigma.Using Goffman's definition we can examine the three types of Stigma that exists.However for the purpose of this paper we shall discuss only two of the types defined.In using the word stigma and examining it's Greek historical text we must also examine a derivative of the word stigma and that is 'stigmata'.Although heavy in it's religious tone, in order to gain an understanding to the question set.Are these signs of God self induced or is there any evidence to support the theory of stigmata. Indeed in recent times there have been moves to make Padre Pio a Saint because of this phenomenon.Therefore we have to examine this form of stigma in order to measure if there is any impact on Goffman's three definitions of stigma.Goffman argues that there are three types of stigma abominations of the body, blemishes and physical stigma (Goffman,1990).With reference to an abomination of the body this paper shall examine 'Anorexia Nervosa'This of form illness displays itself for all to see however the real turmoil is in the inside of the body.Indeed are there links between anorexia and sexual abuse.Hepwoth argue that there is a lack of control of ones body.Is anorexia incurable or is it an illness that some people have to learn to live with ?Secondly 'blemishes'AIDS and H.I.V.can carry all forms of stigma and predjudice.But why ?If we discuss these two forms of stigma we can then move forward and discuss a conclusion to the question set about stigma.Goffman argues that in society there are those amongst us who are the wise and knowing and those who are not.If we explore this theory prior to the conclusion this may help form a better understanding of stigma.Having then discussed the evidence presented we shall then discuss the conclusionI first came to understand stigma when I was watching a television programme 'Auf Weidesein Pet'.Two criminals were discussing the whereabouts of one of the characters when it became apparent that he had escaped to the North East in particular Middlesbrough.One criminal asked the other one if he regarded himself as "working class"? "My mother was cleaner, my dad worked in the docks and I went to the local school,yes im working class" "mmm"came the reply, "wait till you get to Middlesborough then".Whislt this can be described as humorous and a mild form of stigma we have to understand that stigma can be carried on ones outer-self and ones inner-self. True this is a form of stigma is very regionalist where our perceptions of people are formed without meeting them, or even visiting the area.The word 'stigma' was used by the ancient Greeks to refer to a mark placed on an individual to signify infamy or disgrace. a person thus marked was perceived to pose a risk or a hazard to society.However stigma goes beyond conceptions of risk and hazard. It refers to something that is to be shunned or avoided not just...

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