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The reappropriation of stigmatizing labels: Implications for social identity


We present a model of reappropriation, the phenomenon whereby a stigmatized group revalues an externally imposed negative label by self-consciously referring to itself in terms of that label. The model specifies the causes and consequences of reappropriation as well as the essential conditions necessary for reappropriation to be effective. To place the concept of reappropriation in proper context, we begin by discussing the roots of stigma and the mediating role played by social categorization and social identity in the realization of stigmas' deleterious effects. We also discuss the strategies available to both individuals and groups by which stigmatized individuals can enhance their devalued social identities. We provide a discussion of two historical cases of reappropriation and some preliminary empirical evidence concerning the consequences of self-labeling and attempting to reappropriate a stigmatizing label. Finally we discuss the implications of the model for groups and teams, both within and outside of organizations.


Book Chapter


Adam Galinsky, Kurt Hugenberg, Carla Groom, Galen Bodenhausen

Date Published



Galinsky, Adam, Kurt Hugenberg, Carla Groom, and Galen Bodenhausen. 2003. The reappropriation of stigmatizing labels: Implications for social identity.


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