For those not familiar with Goffman's work he is the acceptable face of Sociology. He avoids the bogus science which has given the whole enterprise a bad name but captures the essence of what makes the study of social interraction so fascinating. The Stigmas covered include disabilities, social deviance or sexual orientation. Stigma proposes a basic principle: That the stigmatised individual has a simple choice regarding the attributes that he or she has that makes them different. They can either control the information by not letting so called 'normals' i.e. everyone else, know what their secret is if its not obviously visible; or they can let it be known and manage the resulting tension. They can 'pass' i.e. pretend to be normal while harbouring the knowledge that their stigma makes them distinct and different. It is Goffman's extraordinary insight and accurate description that makes his brand of Sociology so engaging. You will read this and say 'Aha' when you recognise that things you thought only you had observed in the minutely detailed interplay of human relations have been bagged, tagged and described in the most accurate and well documented manner. Nobody should go through life without at least once dipping in to the sharply observed world of this great 20th century observer.