Historical Narratives and the Defense of Stigmatized Industries

Andrew Smith*, Nicholas Wong, Anders Ravn Sørensen, Ian Jones, Diego Coraiola

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This study examines how managers and entrepreneurs in stigmatized industries use historical narratives to combat stigma. We examine two industries, the private military contractors (PMC) industry in the United States and the cannabis industry in Canada. In recent decades, the representatives of these industries have worked to reduce the level of stigmatization faced by the industries. We show that historical narratives were used rhetorically by the representatives of both industries. In both cases, these historical narratives were targeted at just one subset of the population. Our research contributes to debates about stigmatization in ideologically diverse societies, an important issue that have been overlooked by the existing literature on stigmatized industries, which tends to assume the existence of homogeneous audiences when researching the efforts of industry representatives to destigmatize their industries.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)386-404
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Published online:10 Jun 2021.


    • Stigma
    • Business & government
    • Business & society
    • Attitudes

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