"Ex" marks a spot: the stickiness of dirty work and other removed stigmas. Academic Article uri icon


  • This theoretical paper proposes that some stigmas, once removed, can continue to incite prejudice toward the formerly marked ("stickiness"), essentially restigmatizing individuals and continuing the stressful experience of being a "dirty person" in others' eyes. The authors focus on dirty work roles (e.g., morticians, exotic dancers) as prototypes of sticky marks that can lead to continued devaluation and, due to legitimizing myths about work, may be especially vulnerable to it. The authors argue that stickiness results from internal attributions made by others about dirty work and is influenced by visibility, onset- and offset-controllability, taint, tenure, and how the work ended. The authors conclude with an analysis of how stickiness might affect vocational patterns of former dirty workers.

published proceedings

  • J Occup Health Psychol

author list (cited authors)

  • Bergman, M. E., & Chalkley, K. M

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Bergman, Mindy E||Chalkley, Katherine M

publication date

  • July 2007