A ‘stigma’ causes a person to be mentally classified by others in an undesirable stereotype.
‘The Wise’ was shot in Muirhevna Mor, one of Ireland’s largest council housing estates. It was built in the 1970s in response to the growing number of families moving South to escape the conflict in Northern Ireland. My family moved from Portadown to Dundalk and I have lived in Muirhevna Mor for most of my life. This is my community.
Like in most council housing estates, there is a stigma attached to the people who live here. As a result of this stigma, I sometimes feel inferior to those on the outside, as if I have to prove myself. However, unlike those on the outside looking in, I can see the strength of the community within this area, despite its constant struggle to overcome this negative stereotype.
Sociologist Erving Goffman divided people into three categories - The Stigmatized, The Normal and The Wise. The Wise, according to Goffman, are those who have been given an insight into the life of the stigmatized person, which has made them ‘wise’ to their situation and sympathetic towards them.