Discussion Questions for Stigma, by Erving Goffman

1. What would you call "Desperate" -- what is she?

 

 

2. How does Goffman define "stigma" (pp. 1-3)?

 

 

3. What does Goffman mean by "the discreditable" (p. 4)?

 

 

4. What three kinds of stigma does Goffman name, and what are examples of each (p. 4)?

 

 

 

 

5. How do "the normals" (Goffman's term) differ from those with stigmas (p. 5)?

 

 

6. For Goffman, what's the difference between realizing a norm and supporting it (p. 6)?

 

 

7. What does Goffman mean by "separate honor systems"? (The phrase is used on the top of p. 7, but it is really explained in the preceding paragraph at the bottom of p. 6.)

 

 

8. What's wrong with the character speaking in The Little Locksmith quoted on pp. 7-8?

 

 

9. How does shame arise (pp. 7-8)?

 

 

 

10. Goffman talks about all kinds of quackery -- unsound medical practices -- brought to bear on stigma. He lists as examples therapy for gays and lesbians, skin lighteners (p. 9): can you list more quack cures for various stigmas?

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