Social stigma is essentially the use of a single aspect of someone's identity as a marker to deny them equal or fair treatment as a human being so as to reduce their status in the eyes of others which is done for social, economic or political power. This definition, which is my own definition, differs significantly from other definitions of social stigma, such as those by sociologists such as Irving Goffman and Bruce Link and Jo Phelan, in that I define social stigma as a social aberration and cause of inequality which has two aspects - external and internal - and results in status loss, denial of opportunity, and denial of individual life experience. Therefore social stigma forms the basis of discrimination and inequality.
The aspects of social stigma
I define social stigma has having two aspects - external and internal. This is because while social stigma is a part of social interact6ion between two or more people not everyone experiences social stigma or its effects.
External social stigma
External social stigma is stigma which is directed outwards towards another person or group of people. External social stigma can be institutional, authoritarian such as from a hierarchy or authority towards a person or group of people, for example as part of a far right ideology or belief system or it may be individual from someone who shares a similar belief system or ideology. Most people stigmatize others to varying degrees which takes places either as a result of ignorance, or indoctrination or social conditioning. Therefore external social stigma is based on a belief attachment which is rooted in a social or cultural belief.
Internal social stigma
Internal social stigma refers to the aspect of social stigma as experienced by someone who is stigmatized. Many people are stigmatized especially in social systems based around capitalism which promote social inequality and encourage competition and the acquisition of profit. This creates inequality and poverty in ways which promote various social, economic and political advantages, which results in such things as status loss, deprivation and denial of opportunities, deprivation and denial of individual human experience and social exclusion. Much of this is created through artificial scarcity therefore social stigma is not a normal part of social progress or development of society or culture but a form of oppression directed at certain people and a social issue in itself.