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Stigma

In ancient Greece, the word stigma referred to bodily signs designed to expose something unusual and negative about the moral status of the signifier. The signs were cut or burnt into the body which branded one a slave, criminal, or traitor. In English, stigma refers to the rejection of an individual or group of people for any reason; such individuals or groups are considered blemished, formally tainted, to be avoided, especially in public. Those who are socially stigmatized are often perceived as deviant, devalued, and undesirable. Stigmas are powerful influences on both social opportunities and one’s place in society. Stigmatized individuals often adopt various strategies to manage their social identity. This entry provides an overview of stigma, including types of stigma and techniques for managing ...

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