degradation ceremonythe communicative work which transforms a persons entire status and identity to something lower (GARFINKEL, 1956). The guilty offender in a court trial, for example, is reduced to a degraded status as ‘murderer’ or ‘thief. This has implications for the offender's total identity as a human being. According to Garfinkel, the existence of such ceremonies are in ‘dialectical contrast’ to, and also demonstrate, the ‘ultimately valued, routine orders of personnel and action’ within society. See also DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION, ETHNOMETHODOLOGY.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000