Stigma and moral development
Moral development according to Goffman is both a cause and effect of being stigmatized by a sequence of personal adaptations. One stage in this process of socialization is the stage through which the person with the stigma learns and directs the point of view of the normal, and thereby acquires the views of the wider society in relation to his identity, and a general concept as to what it is like to have a certain stigma. Reveals that he has a stigma. The combination of these two stages in moral development creates according to Goffman different patterns of socialization:
1.A pattern that includes those who have an innate stigma - connecting into their inferior state while learning, and internalizing the standards from which they fall.
2.A pattern that stems from the ability of a family (and to a lesser extent a neighborhood) to transform itself into a body that protects its young members. Such a framework can protect a child with a birth stigma. The moment in life when the home circle can no longer protect the individual will cause a moral experience as soon as it occurs.
3.A pattern exemplified by someone who becomes stigmatized later in life or who discovers it later - this person is likely to have difficulty redefining himself.
4.A pattern exemplified by those who are connected in the first place in a foreign community, and therefore must learn through a second existence which is perceived by those around them as the true and valid way.
In a person's attachment to his category, which has the stigma, there is a built-in ambivalence. As a result, there may be fluctuations in his support of those who belong to him. There will be "cycles of engagement" through which he will learn to accept the special opportunities of group participation or to reject them after he has already received them. There will also be parallel fluctuations in belief in the nature of the affiliation group, and in the nature of regular people.
The attitude of the stigma holder towards the informal community and the official institutions of its kind, can be a sign of a big difference between those who are different from the group and those who find themselves part of a well-organized community.
When the stigmatized individual reviews his own moral development, he can select and process, in retrospect, the experiences that are implied to him as an explanation for his contemporary practices in relation to his peers and group. Thus the event in life may have a double meaning in relation to the moral development, first as an immediate objective moment to an actual turning point, and later (and also easier to prove) as a means of explaining the present position.