Spoiled group identities and backstage work

A theory of stigma management rehearsals

John O'Brien

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    How do persons with a stigmatized identity learn potential responses to discrimination and harassment? Drawing on three and a half years of ethnographic data, this paper demonstrates how members of a group of Muslim American youth are socialized in locally dominant stigma management strategies through stigma management rehearsals. Stigma management rehearsals are small group interactions through which leaders and members encourage their peers to adopt normative stigma responses. I identify two rehearsal types that vary in their socializing function as well as in their temporal orientation toward stigmatizing incidents. In direct preparation rehearsals, individuals anticipating a stigmatizing encounter are quickly taught the normative response. In deep education rehearsals, stigmatizing incidents set in the past or hypothetical future are used to teach justifications underlying local responses and to allow for the private expression of publicly inappropriate responses. These findings suggest that intragroup dynamics and backstage processes are important considerations when investigating issues of stigma and stigma management.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)291-309
    Number of pages19
    JournalSocial Psychology Quarterly
    Volume74
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

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    Islam
    Education

    Keywords

    • discrimination
    • Muslims
    • stigma
    • stigma management
    • temporality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology

    Cite this

    Spoiled group identities and backstage work : A theory of stigma management rehearsals. / O'Brien, John.

    In: Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 3, 01.09.2011, p. 291-309.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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