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Philip Leverhulme Prize: Sociology and Social Policy

Project: Research


How are inequalities produced through stigma? What is the social, political and economic function of stigma today? Where and by whom is stigma crafted and circulated? Stigma is one of the most frequently used but least developed
concepts in sociology. Although stigma is employed to describe a vast array of scapegoating practices and shameful identities, deeper theoretical understandings of stigma are frequently absent from sociological
analysis. Erving Goffman’s 'Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity' (1964) was pivotal in the emergence of a sociology of stigma, yet it is striking how little understandings of stigma have developed. This is ‘because bodies of research pertaining to specific stigmatized statuses’, such as disabilities and poverty, have developed in different disciplinary domains (Hatzenbuehler, 2013). The Sociology of Stigma will produce a new theoretical account of stigma to address this lacuna and to consider the relationship between growing inequalities
and 'heightened stigmatization in daily life and public discourse' (Wacquant, 2010).

Stage one of the project will involve an extensive review and synthesis of the multi-disciplinary literature on stigma. Stage two will develop a
series of contemporary case studies in stigmatisation in Contemporary Europe.

 develop a new social theory of stigma
 examine the relationship between stigmatisation and escalating inequalities
 consider ‘behaviour change’ policies through the lens of stigma
 deepen understanding of the role of stigma in generating a ‘post-welfare' consensus

 A monograph, The Stigma Doctrine (provisional title)
 Three peer-reviewed articles
 A special issue: 'Sociology of Stigma'
 An international research network: Stigma & Inequality
Effective start/end date1/09/1531/12/18


  • The Leverhulme Trust: £99,808.00

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