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A unitary theory of stigmatisation: Pursuit of self-interest and routes to destigmatisation

  • Rahman Haghighat (a1)
Abstract
Background

Stigmatisation is of increasing importance in relation to racism, ageism and sexism but also as an impediment to treating patients.

Aims

To develop a theoretical foundation to help comprehend the core meaning of stigmatisation and to guide practical anti-stigmatisation measures.

Method

Personal reflection; re-interpretation of stigmatisation and reformulation of the relevant concepts.

Results

Emergence of a unitary theory of stigmatisation.

Conclusions

Based on the structure of stigmatisation one could explore six levels of intervention in anti-stigmatisation campaigns: the cognitive level – educational intervention; the affective level – psychological intervention; the discrimination level – legislative intervention; the denial level – linguistic intervention; the economic origin – political intervention; the evolutionary origin – intellectual and cultural intervention. As destigmatisation has to challenge fundamental human tendencies, anti-stigmatisation campaigns have to be continuous, non-stop, open-ended projects aiming at keeping alive thought processes that moderate and humanise the pursuit of self-interest and the urge to survive in a competitive world.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Rahman Haghighat, Adult Department, Tavistock Clinic, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA, UK. E-mail: r.haghighat@lycos.com
Footnotes
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See editorial, pp. 197–199, this issue

Declaration of interest

Funded by a grant from University College London Trustees.

Footnotes
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A unitary theory of stigmatisation: Pursuit of self-interest and routes to destigmatisation

  • Rahman Haghighat (a1)
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