Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients by Erving Goffman PDF

By Erving Goffman

Asylums is an research of existence in 'total institutions' - closed worlds like prisons, military camps, boarding colleges, nursing houses and psychological hospitals. It makes a speciality of the connection among the inmate and the establishment, how the surroundings impacts the individual and the way the individual can care for lifestyles at the inside of.

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Extra resources for Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

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Further, curtailments of the self occur in all three, even where the inmate is willing and the management has ideal concerns for his well-being. Two issues have been considered: the inmate's sense of personal inefficacy and the relation of his own desires to the ideal interests of the establishment. The connec­ tion between these two issues is variable. Persons can voluntarily elect to enter a total institution and cease thereafter, to their regret, to be able to make such im­ portant decisions.

Also, mismanagement of either animate or inanimate objects may leave telltale marks for supervisors to see. And just as an article being processed through an industrial plant must be foDowed by a paper shadow showing what has been done by whom, what is to be done, and who last had responsibility for it, so a himian object, moving, say, through a mental-hospital system, must be followed by a chain of informative receipts detailing what has been done to and by the patient and who had most recent re­ sponsibility for him.

Messing up involves a complex process of engaging in forbidden activity (including sometimes an effort at escape), getting caught, and re82 Belknap, op. , p. 164. »3 For example, Dendrickson and Thomas, 99-100. op. , ^ pp. 54 CHARACTERISTICS OF TOTAL INSTITUTIONS ceiving something like full punishment. " Typical infractions involved in messing up are: fights, drunkenness, attempted suicide, failure at examinations, gambling, insubordination, homo­ sexuality, improper leave-taking, and participation in collective riots.

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Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates by Erving Goffman


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