Stigma is a societal control technique used to manage the undesirable. Cultures have varying criteria implicating stigma. Some criteria are freely observable, preventing the bearer from keeping his or her vulnerabilities private. Other criteria can be held private until otherwise publicized. For example, moral indecency and other character flaws are generally private, until discovered by another who may then publicize the departure from the socially acceptable norms, thus creating stigma. The normative judgments and reactions allow a society to track the activities and characteristics of individual members and then group them into categories. These categories allow other individual members of the society to create preliminary assumptions about the labeled individuals. The actions leading one to be stigmatized are not relevant. Rather, the knowledge of one’s ...

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