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L. Allen Furr

WOMEN, VIOLENCE AND SOCIAL STIGMA: A Sociology of Burn Attacks A Sociology of Burn Attacks

L. Allen Furr


ISBN 9788131609354
Publication Year 2018
Pages 160 pages
Binding Hardback
Sale Territory World (Except USA and Canada)

About the Book

The agony of being burned alive is unimaginable, and for those who survive this brutal assault, the pain continues for a lifetime.  In India, the burden of this insidious act unfortunately falls primarily on women who are often attacked by their husbands. For survivors, life is dramatically different than before the assault.  They are scarred and disfigured, sometimes beyond recognition.  They are even singled out for differential treatment and are sometimes even believed to hold evil supernatural powers.  They are the victims of stigma.
When a woman is burned, the attack is only the beginning of a long and painful journey through life.  Following the physical pain of the burns, the surgeries, and the subsequent scarring, comes the worst part: living with disfigurement. 
This study attempts to make sociological sense of the stories of Indian women who have been attacked with fire by their husbands.  The data show that after women are attacked by kerosene-laced fire they experience two more traumas in their lives.  First, “society” changes their identities. They are no longer “a woman”; they are transformed into a “burned woman”.  Second, because that identity change is dramatic and permanent, disfigured women to varying degrees are socially excommunicated and treated as pariahs.  The present study seeks to determine how and why disfigurement stigma happens in India and the consequences of that stigma on the lives of burned women.


1. Of Fire and Face: The Stigma of Facial Burns
2. The Meaning of Gender in India
3. Burning Women: Facts and Treatments
4. Stigma
5. Conclusions

About the Author / Editor

L. Allen Furr is Professor of Sociology at Auburn University, USA. His research focuses on the sociology of health, with a particular interest in the psychosocial dynamics of facial disfigurement.  He was part of the University of Louisville’s research team that pioneered facial transplantation, and his most recent work investigates the stigma experienced by facially disfigured women in India. Besides sociology, his research can be found in journals of psychiatry, medicine, nursing and social work. He has also written several scholarly articles on gender and health issues in South Asia. 
Dr Furr received his doctorate in sociology from the Louisiana State University and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2005 to teach at Punjabi University, Patiala, India.