August 2021
contemporary

Stigma

By Imogen Tyler
Originally published by Zed Books

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'If you think you know what stigma is, think again. Essential reading'
Mary O'Hara

‘A devastating and brilliant book that reconceptualises stigma for the twenty-first century’
Emma Jackson, Goldsmiths

'Brings out the enduring power of stigma to mark inequality on the body in profound, searing ways. This will be a vital contribution to recognising the lived experience of inequality across history'
Mike Savage, London School of Economics

'Profoundly original and innovating'
Satnam Virdee, University of Glasgow

Stigma is a corrosive social force by which individuals and communities throughout history have been systematically dehumanised, scapegoated and oppressed. From the literal stigmatizing (tattooing) of criminals in ancient Greece, to modern day discrimination against Muslims, refugees and the 'undeserving poor', stigma has long been a means of securing the interests of powerful elites.

In this radical reconceptualisation Tyler precisely and passionately outlines the political function of stigma as an instrument of state coercion. Through an original social and economic reframing of the history of stigma, Tyler reveals stigma as a political practice, illuminating previously forgotten histories of resistance against stigmatization, boldly arguing that these histories provide invaluable insights for understanding the rise of authoritarian forms of government today.

Imogen Tyler is a Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science. A teacher, writer and social activist, she is a member of the Morecambe Bay Poverty Truth Commission and a trustee of the UK Poverty Truth Network. She has published widely on issues of social inequality and injustice, and her critically acclaimed book Revolting Subjects (2013) was shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing.