First, Deviance, Then Stigma, Then Degradation Ceremony – Cat Dumper Edition

I have blogged about this yesterday. After the visible deviance, the strong social reaction (death threats via Facebook… that’s gonna make Todd Krohn warm up to Facebook!) and stigma (the woman was outed within hours of her deed), now comes the more or less obligatory shaming ritual, or, as Harold Garfinkel would call it, degradation ceremony:

“In a statement released on Wednesday, Ms Bale, a bank worker from Stoke, in Coventry, said: “I want to take this opportunity to apologise profusely for the upset and distress that my actions have caused.

“I cannot explain why I did this, it is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners.

“It was a split second of misjudgement that has got completely out of control.

“I am due to meet with the RSPCA and police to discuss this matter further and will co-operate fully with their investigations.

“I wish to reiterate that I am profoundly sorry for my actions and wish to resolve this matter to everyone’s satisfaction as soon as possible.””

The problem, Ms Bale, is that stigma tends to stick. It is not easy to shed especially if a catchy nickname has been attached to the offender, like the “cat dumper” (or “the Octomom” to use another example). Which means that this is very likely to become your master status for quite some time. Further social rituals may be required, such as volunteering at the British version of the ASPCA, in order to be able to get rid of that stigma.

From a purely selfish point of view, my deviance lectures just wrote themselves here.

One thought on “First, Deviance, Then Stigma, Then Degradation Ceremony – Cat Dumper Edition

  1. Throw in Scheff’s Retrospective labeling (“she always did hate cats/animals”) and Projective labeling (“she’ll likely do it again”), and this woman’s status as “cat dumper” is a lock for the foreseeable future.

    That she is receiving vitriol via facebook is, of course, no surprise. I wonder, though, how many times she’s been hit on? ;>

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