What is a stigma symbol? Explain its use as a label in late medieval and early modern societies. Discuss some examples of stigma and stigma symbols in Goffman. How do they compare with stigma and stigma symbols between the year 1100 and 1500 A.D.? To what extent can we apply Goffman's theories to the study of deviant and marginalized groups in medieval and early modern Europe?
A way to identify a deviant or marginalized group by the majority.
When a group is disliked and looked down upon yet are still sought out for various beneficial reasons. An example would be Jews, as they were generally disliked but when a doctor was needed or any money lending then they would be who Christians would go to. They provided a service that no one else did and while they are still not liked they are tolerated because they provide these services.
A monk that founded the Franciscan order of monks. As a Mendicant order they beg and do not own anything. They travel around preaching. St. Francis didn’t like Jews. He had the Stigmata which are positive stigma symbols because they reflect the wounds Jesus got on the Cross.
The idea put forth by Thomas Aquinas with the help of Aristotle’s theories. Transubstantiation is the concept that while visually the bread and wine do not appear to have changed, the matter of it actually is the blood and body of Christ. This was to help clear up the thought that the bread and wine did not appear to change. While this was important for more learned people to know, it was easier to explain it to peasants with the metaphor of Jesus in the wine press.
A normal deviant is someone that is under a stigmatized category who hides their deviance in order to fit in with the normal crowd. An example given in the text is a man who does not take jobs that would cause him to be out past dark since he has a fear of the dark.
One of the things I really like about this book is the use of many different cities at varying centuries to prove the author’s point. I like how one example will use a town in France during the Seventeenth Century and another example will use a city in England during the Sixteenth Century. I feel that by showing different places and time periods that I get more of a real sense of the time period and life than if the author was to just use one town in one block of time as the rule to everything in that time period. I feel the author shows that ways of life varied from place to place even in the same time period and this is very refreshing to me.
All in all this book is exceedingly interesting and I can’t wait to finish and see what the author’s observations lead to at the end.