The Structural and Cultural Cartography of Tolerance: Stigma, Mental Illness and the Public
Date: March 11, 2013
Time: 12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: 165 Wallace Hall
Please feel free to bring a lunch.
Understanding the landscape of prejudice and discrimination attached to mental illness is fundamentally rooted in the contention that stigma can be enacted only in and through social relationships. Stigma has been a central concern of sociologists since Shirley Star’s NORC national survey in the 1950s and Erving Goffman’s observations of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the 1960s. Of late, the issue has reemerged in public and policy debates surrounding violence in the U.S. (e.g., Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut) and globally (e.g., similar incidents in the Netherlands, China) and prompting a new White House “national dialogue” to be launched in early to mid-March. Over the last two decades, sociological and social science research in this area has experienced a resurgence, yet many myths about the structures and mechanisms of tolerance remain. This presentation first provides a brief overview locating stigma on both the sociological and public agenda, including a summary of conclusions from the resurgence. However, the primary focus will be on new findings from the Stigma in Global Context – Mental Health Study. These first findings from the SGC-MHS challenge common public and scientific understandings of the larger cultural context of stigma, suggest new measurement strategies and policy approaches, and help set an agenda for the next decade of sociological research.
Bernice A. Pescosolido is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Indiana University and Director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research. Professor Pescosolido received a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in 1974 and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1982. She has focused her research and teaching on social issues in health, illness, and healing.