Differentiation in the social evaluation of work: an investigation of stigmatizing characteristics of death-related occupations

Saunders, Kenneth C. (1991) Differentiation in the social evaluation of work: an investigation of stigmatizing characteristics of death-related occupations. PhD thesis, Middlesex Polytechnic.

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Abstract

At the theoretical level, the thesis seeks to confirm the significance
of stigma and to analyse its social composition, classifiability and
influence on certain occupational groups, an earlier research topic of
the author, focussed here on death work. It begins with a critical
review of recent theorists' attempts to grapple with the applications
to and implications for socially discredited groups and practitioners.
A synthesized model is then presented to reflect the crucial variables
in stigmatization.
The occupational stigma concept as such, whilst the subject of a deeper
theoretical examination in relation to such phenomena as status,
prestige, public image and self-perception of incumbents exposed to it,
must also be capable of empirical verification. This is provided by an
examination of the changing social structure of the 'death industry'.
Key ethnographic elements associated with the work of funeral
directors, embalmers and gravediggers derived from fieldwork material
are elaborated to establish attempts to enhance prestige and counter
occupational stigma.
Further chapters focus particularly on forensic pathologists as
professional doctors in death work, made most acutely aware of their
marginality by medical colleagues' denial that they are healers. The
reasons for the demise of the forensic pathology profession are
critically examined with regard to how incumbents perceive their work
and their propensity to manage stress. Stigma-alleviating factors are
identified which attach themselves also to a recognised profession as
distinct from other death occupations.
The thesis concludes by providing the wider cultural and social policy
context for the changes that have occurred within the death industry
and by offering a reassessment of the concept of stigma in the light of
the empirical findings. The five-part appendix includes matters
methodological, a discussion of stigma origins, cases studies, some
detailed responses from the forensic pathologists and ideas for
measuring stigma.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 13369
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2014 14:43
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2018 19:14
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13369

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