Stigma Essay

Write an essay in which you analyze a way in which you, or someone you know or have invented, is deviant.

The following general format should be followed.

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1. Introduction: Give an overview of what you plan to discuss in the essay while also introducing Goffman, this theory, and how you plan to apply it.

2. Description of Deviance: Write a detailed and descriptive story of aspects of stigma management (which will then be analyzed in section three). Chronicle these through stories, memories, conversations, or journal entries, etc. This is meant to be a descriptive experience, followed by sociological analyses in section three.

3. Analyzing your [or another person’s] deviance: Using at least 15 of the concepts presented by Erving Goffman in his theory, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (1963), critically analyze your deviance. Make sure to define and underline all terms used. Taking concepts from my powerpoint notes is unavoidable and necessary as I will cover the main concepts from the theory; however, using those concepts alone is UNACCEPTABLE, you will need to find and employ at least 5 or 6 more concepts of your own from the book to use in your analysis. The essay should demonstrate that you have read the book and drawn your inspiration from Goffman’s theory of Stigma.

4. Going Beyond: Provide an analysis and/or critique of the perspective used by Goffman, incorporating what you have learned in this course. In this section, you have the freedom to write whatever you like as long as it is sociological and grounded in the overall concept of “stigma”.

5. Conclusion: Summarize your essay as you see fit.


• Essays must be double spaced, essay style (point form is not acceptable) and use proper referencing and grammar. Please use 12 point font. Your essay should be 8-10 pages.

Grading scheme will penalize improper use of terms/concepts, improperly defined terms/concepts, and the use of less than 15 concepts. Grading scheme will reward creative sociological insight and a well-organized and thought out analysis. Improper grammar and sentence structure are grounds for penalization. It is to your benefit to proof read and make sure your work is written correctly and clearly.

I will be marking the papers personally. You should know this in advance. I understand that writing about how you [or someone you know] are “deviant” (either in terms of stigma of excellence or otherwise) can be a very personal experience and your work will not be shared with anyone.

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