The dynamics of (de)stigmatisation: Boundary construction in the nascent category of organic farming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Marjo Elisa Siltaoja
  • Merja Lahdesmaki
  • Nina Granqvist
  • Sami Kurki
  • Petteri Puska
  • harri luomala

Research units

  • University of Jyväskylä
  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Vaasa


This study finds that it is possible for organizations in emerging categories to resist stigmatization through discursive reconstruction of the central and distinctive characteristics of the category in question. We examined the emerging market of organic farming in Finland and discovered how resistance to stigmatization was both an internal and an external power struggle in the organic farming community. Over time, the label of organic farming was manipulated and the practice of farming was associated with more conventional and familiar contexts, while the stigma was diverted at the same time to biodynamic farming. We develop a process model for removal of stigma from a nascent category through stigma diversion. We find that stigma diversion forces the core community to (re)define themselves in relation to the excluded community and the mainstream. We also discuss how notoriety can be an individuating phenomenon that helps categorical members conduct identity work and contributes to stigma removal.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
JournalOrganization Studies
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • categorical stigma, destigmatization, discourse analysis, domination, market category, organic farming, power, resistance

ID: 40538877