Social Policy stigma

Topics: Unemployment, Sociology, Social stigma Pages: 4 (1217 words) Published: December 5, 2013

Social Policy Theories and Concepts Essay

What do you understand by ‘Stigma’ and do you agree that social policies can stigmatize people? If so, what is the solution? In this essay I will discuss what my understanding of the word ‘Stigma’ is, whether I agree or not if social policies stigmatize certain groups of people and if so, what are the solutions to these stigmas attached to these groups. “Stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labelled by their illness they are seen as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination” ( In modern society, stigmas are nearly almost of a negative kind. They have a negative effect on those being stigmatized and can cause experiences and feelings such as; shame, blame, hopelessness, and distress. “In every branch of the social services, some provisions are stigmatizing and others are not; but the reasons for the pattern of stigmatization are not immediately clear” (Spicker, Stigma and Social Welfare p.36). Because stigma is socially constructed, it varies from setting to setting, there are many different types of groups in society which all react differently to the stigmas which are appointed. All of these different reactions must be considered when planning social policies. In every different society not everyone is going to be content with policies that are made, some may stigmatize groups of people and the groups who have been victims of certain stigmas will also have feelings of discontent, hopelessness and distress. Erving Goffman, one of the most important sociologists of the twentieth century, defined stigma as “the process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity”. (Nettleton, 2006: 95). Goffman believes that there are three types of social stigmas, including: 1. Stigma of character traits

2. Physical Stigma
3. Stigma of group identity
Goffman considers the stigma...

‘Stigma and Social Welfare’ – Paul Spicker 1984
‘The Sociology of Health and Illness’ – Sarah Nettleton 2006
‘Key Themes in Social Policy’ – Patricia Kennedy 2013
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