Stigma, and Its Discontents
By Kenneth McLaughlin
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This engaging and thought-provoking book interrogates the workings of stigma within a historical, political and sociological framework. In so doing, it highlights the way in which particular individuals and groups are 'othered', and the implications such a process has for how they are viewed and treated within society.
A discussion of the various ways in which stigma has been conceptualised is followed by an analysis of the workings of stigma within the sphere of social welfare. The focus then turns to a consideration of the way specific groups and their allies have challenged their stigmatised status, and, in the process, have utilised and developed our understanding of the theoretical, political and practical ways in which stigma operates within society.
In paying particular attention to mental health, disability and transgender politics, the book highlights both the progressive and regressive aspects of theoretical and practical campaigns to challenge stigma. In particular, it gives warning as to the way such developments often exhibit a marked disdain for the public and have become institutionalised in such a way as to constitute a threat to our political freedom.