Department Research Seminar || WiSe 2020/21 || Madeline TOUBIANA (Alberta School of Business)
November 17, 2021 - 04.00 p.m. to 05.30 p.m.
Title: Stigma Hierarchies: The Internal Dynamics of Stigmatization in the Sex Work Occupation
Type: Talk with Q&A
Facilitator: Madeline TOUBIANA
Abstract. Existing literature studying stigmatized, or “dirty”, workers has tended to characterize those outside of the “dirty” occupation as the stigmatizers, and those within the occupation as tightly knit social supports that buffer each other from the stigma. In this paper, we argue that this characterization is not entirely accurate, and as a result, oversimplifies the complex ways in which stigmatization occurs. Using an in-depth qualitative study of the sex work occupation in Canada, we develop a more nuanced understanding of stigmatization by exploring how it unfolds within dirty work occupations. Our analysis revealed that while sex workers indeed feel stigmatized by outsiders there were internal mechanisms of stigmatization that led to the construction of a stigma hierarchy within the occupation. Challenging existing characterizations in the literature, thus, we found that sex workers were not just the stigmatized, but also the stigmatizers. This meant there were interaction risks within the occupation, and in order to avoid these risks sex workers engage in what we conceptualize as stealth organizing to find similarly stigmatized others to act as social supports. We reveal that the occupation was not a stigma-free safe haven, and was instead defined by what we conceptualize as bounded entitativity: social support and a sense of being grouplike that is confined to small community groups, within a broader occupational context of dissension.
Speaker. Madeline Toubiana is an assistant professor of Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Organization at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on what supports or stalls social change. She is interested specifically in the role emotions, institutional dynamics and stigmatization play in influencing processes of social change. Some of her previous and current work examines this topic in the context of social entrepreneurship, academia, social media, the Canadian prison system and the sex trade. Her research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies, and Journal of Management History, among others.She currently serves on the editorial review boards of Academy of Management Journal and Organization Studies.