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An earlier version of this text was presented at the 16th Annual Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology (NoSP) The Phenomenology of Solidarity: Community, Practice and Politics (April 19–21), held at University of Gdańsk and European Solidarity Center, Gdańsk, Poland. Since then, the text has been heavily revised.
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The concept of self-stigmatization is guided by a representational account of selfhood that fails to accommodate for resilience against, and recovery from, stigma. Mainstream research on self-stigma has portrayed it only as a reified self, that is, as collectively shared stereotypes representing individuals’ identity. Self-stigma viewed phenomenologically, however, elucidates what facilitates a stigmatized self. A phenomenological analysis discloses the lived phenomenon of stigma as an act of self-objectification, as related to the experiential self, and therefore an achievement of subjectivity. Following a phenomenological account, the stigmatized self can thus return to a state-of-being, similar to that Jean-Paul Sartre once referred to as bad faith. Regarding your identity as analogous to an inanimate thing is ultimately self-deceptive. Self-stigma is here phenomenologically illuminated as constituted by basic discretion, that is, as a minimal form of agency. The study found that basic discretion can uphold the possibility for emancipation from a stigmatized self.
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