Essay about Total Institutions

1020 Words May 14th, 2001 5 Pages
Total Institutions

In the year 1961, the author, Erving Goffman, published a book consisting of text and studies on mental patients and inmates, in what he has called "total institutions". There is a large focus on the life of mental patients, due to his year long study in an American institution. However, the center of my reading was based on the institutions and the lifestyles that are reached when placed in such establishments. When describing these institutions the author referred to them as segregated communities. This is exactly what they are. One is cut off from the outside society, with little or no contact at all until the inmates stay is over. The character of these institutions is one that is an intimidating
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The second of these groupings, encompasses all of the institutions that care for people who are incapable and threatening to communities and themselves. This grouping is distinct in its findings and is very focused on the mental hospitals and wellness centers in or society. In such establishments, the patient is stripped of all things personal, to build a new self. Stripping ones identity also allows doctors and nurses to begin to identify the problems within the mind without the ability of the patient to hide or be distracted by the outside world. Institutions purportedly established to pursue work like tasks, and justify themselves only on those grounds is the third grouping. Such institutions include, but again are not limited to, boarding schools, military academies, and the Job Corps. The idea behind these institutions is to inform and educated one in a way that will help them to be successful in life.
The one factor that attracts the majority of its members is the chance to make ones self better. To excel and to give hope to a better life , one with direction and purpose. The forth group of Goffman's conclusion, was that of establishments that are made as retreats from ordinary life, while still serving as a station for religion. This was very particular in its classification, the most specific of all the

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