• Supporting those affected by the misery of stigma and exclusion

What causes social stigma?

The root cause of social stigma is a desire for domination and control over another person or group of people by controlling their identity and how they are perceived by others in a society or community. Much of this is closely related to a desire for social, economic or political power as it is due to either ignorance or emotional insecurity relating to one's own economic status or power.

This desire for domination and control can be 'top down', i.e. authoritarian in nature and come from an authority such as a government and is directed towards a specific group of people as a means of imposing social order or forcing a change in behaviour or social or cultural changes. One such example is the stigmatization of jobless people by poltiicians and Government ministers which also caused the stigmatization of peop[e with disabilities. However the desire for domination and control can be fear based, and have nothing to do with authorities or governments, but tied mainly to ignorance or emotional insecurity, such as what can happen with sexism, or homophobia or transphobia. Additionally emotional insecurity and fear through rapid or imposed social or cultural changes can provoke a desire for domination and control among people, particular among those with beliefs at both extremes of the political spectrum and a reactionary belief in authoritarianism.

Sometimes the desire for domination and control can be a combination of a desire for domination and control which is both top down and individual as can be seen by the existence of racism and widespread social acceptance of racist power structures in most post colonial societies. Another wider example of social stigma is that assigned to people with disabilities which occurs in most societies. Fascism is another example of social stigma based on a desire for domination and control over others which is both top down and individual as is authoritarianism.