Social Construction of Stigma and its Implications – Observations from COVID-19

27 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020 Publication Status: Preprint

See all articles by Manomita Das

Manomita Das

Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani


Infectious diseases such as plague, yellow fever, influenza etc. have a well-established history of carrying stigma. Such stigma is shaped not only by the disease characteristics, but also by the social and institutional processes, which create a condition conducive to discrimination, hostility and social disharmony. This paper investigates the behavioral and socio-political processes which influenced the production of stigma in COVID-19 and its possible implications on public health interventions and the society at large. Utilizing cases from India, three key themes are explored - stigma as an active barrier in pandemic response, stigma and marginalization and stigma as a political tool. Drawing from the observations, the paper presents a conceptual model on the implications of COVID-19 stigma and argues for greater recognition of stigma as a major impediment towards prevention and control of infectious diseases.

Keywords: Stigma, COVID-19, Discrimination, Exclusion, Polarization

Suggested Citation

Das, Manomita, Social Construction of Stigma and its Implications – Observations from COVID-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3599764 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3599764

Manomita Das (Contact Author)

Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani ( email )

Pilani Campus
Vidya Vihar
Pilani, Rajasthan 333 031

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