The sociology of doing nothing: A model "adopt a stigma in a public place" exercise

Karen Bettez Halnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The "doing nothing" assignment is offered as a methodologically detailed, theoretically grounded, and easily implemented exercise for teaching students about stigma. It also provides students with the opportunity to "do" sociology and to learn about everyday interpretations of social life. This paper provides a discussion of the advantages of this stigma simulation, safety issues related to the exercise, and methods teachers can use to assess student learning. Goffman's works on stigma and Scott and Lyman's concept of "accounts" frame an analysis of student reports. A composite narrative of doing nothing highlights how the experience unfolds from beginning to end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-438
Number of pages16
JournalTeaching Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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