The world has shifted its axis...a little,
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This review is from: Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (Paperback)
Goffman wrote a seminal book about Stigma which connects more to Foucualt than Marx in his perception of how institions such as prisons, psychiatrists as well as communities pass judgement upon what constitutes the norm and what is outside it. In this respect, Goffman also connects to Bourdieu's habitus.
Looking at homosexuality and the stigma applied, which has not been entirely erased - along with prostitution, disability and race, he ranges across the big themes that were to dominate the late 1970's as Gay rights, Women's Rights, Civil Rights and Disability Rights all changed the world due to the stigmas they faced. Goffman's book, handed out on sociology courses must have lit the touchpaper, because here was someone inhabiting the skin of those who were ostracised and providing a language of expression previously denied. This is one of those little slim volumes written by US academics that just lit up the world during this era. Howard Becker is another.
Goffman fuses psychology with sociology to transcend the bland theorising of both to deliver something which offers hope to those who have been castigated. Some of the language is non PC, but try reading Mark Twain.
Within this book are more ideas than most can put together in a life time. Reflecting upon them you can see how the world has changed, but you can also wince, because these labels are no longer applied to women, blacks and disabled but they are used against the homeless, the drug user, alcoholic and the criminal. These people have been cast adrift by the "normals" along with the sex worker who still hangs out with the Bohemians, so the world has shifted its....a little.