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The concept of stigma with special reference to the unmarried mother : a social policy and administration approach.

Page, Robert M. (1984) The concept of stigma with special reference to the unmarried mother : a social policy and administration approach. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94569) (KAR id:94569)


The concept of stigma is examined in three parts in this thesis. In part one attention is given to the anatomy of stigma (chapter one) and the social administration approach to stigma (chapter two). In the first of these chapters distinctions are drawn between the various aspects of stigma (e.g. stigmas, stigmatization, felt stigma), whilst in the second the theoretical developments and 'practical' applications of the term in the field of social policy is considered. It is contended that the failure (in general) to give sufficient attention to the concept of stigma in its own right is a major weakness of the social administration approach to this phenomenon. The need for more extensive examinations of the concept of stigma within this area of study is highlighted in part two (chapters three and four) which is devoted to a case study of one particular stigmatized 'welfare' group - unmarried mothers. In chapter three it is asserted that stigma has attached to the unmarried mother for two main reasons - (i) the threat this group pose to Christian teaching and practice and, more importantly, (ii) their dependency on public aid. In chapter four the findings from a small survey on felt stigma and the unmarried mother are presented. It was found that respondents in this survey had relatively few experiences of either felt stigma or stigmatization. However, there was sufficient evidence to suggest that it would be premature to conclude that the stigma attaching to this group has now all but withered away. Finally, in part three (chapter five) the various links between stigma and other concepts (most notably social control) commonly referred to in discussions of social policy are explored. It is concluded that stigma will continue to be a key concept for students, teachers and practitioners in social policy provided that it is examined from a much wider perspective than has previously been the case.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94569
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2023 13:17 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 13:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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