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

Rahman Haghighat
2001 British Journal of Psychiatry  
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
more » ... 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.
doi:10.1192/bjp.178.3.207 pmid:11230030 fatcat:bqxbsfhatvbnjn2s5nk4i6jkqm