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

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Transaction Publishers, 2007 - Social Science - 386 pages
20 Reviews

A total institution is defined by Goffman as a place of residence and work where a large number of like-situated, individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life. Prisons serve as a clear example, providing we appreciate that what is prison-like about prisons is found in institutions whose members have broken no laws. This volume deals with total institutions in general and, mental hospitals, in particular. The main focus is, on the world of the inmate, not the world of the staff. A chief concern is to develop a sociological version of the structure of the self.

Each of the essays in this book were intended to focus on the same issue--the inmate's situation in an institutional context. Each chapter approaches the central issue from a different vantage point, each introduction drawing upon a different source in sociology and having little direct relation to the other chapters.

This method of presenting material may be irksome, but it allows the reader to pursue the main theme of each paper analytically and comparatively past the point that would be allowable in chapters of an integrated book. If sociological concepts are to be treated with affection, each must be traced back to where it best applies, followed from there wherever it seems to lead, and pressed to disclose the rest of its family.

Erving Goffman was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania until his death in 1982. He is recognized as one of the world's foremost social theorists and much of his work still remains in print. Among his classic books are The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life; Interaction Ritual; Stigma; Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity; and Frame Analysis.

William B. Helmreich is a professor of sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and City College. He has written Against All Odds, The Enduring Community, Saving Children, and The Things They Say Behind Your Back all available from Transaction.

  

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Review: Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

User Review  - Anna Nowinski - Goodreads

Interesting insight into the world of total institutions and specifically the socialization of mental patients. Kind of disorienting to read if you identify as having some kind of mental illness. Read full review

Review: Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

User Review  - Starleigh - Goodreads

This is the most useful book that I read during my entire university education! Reading this book helped me see everyday institutional interactions in a whole new way and helped me understand power ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Erving Goffman was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania until his death in 1982. He is recognied as one of the world’s foremost social theorists and much of his work still remains in print. Among his classic books are The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Interaction Ritual, Stigma, Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, and Frame Analysis.

William B. Helmreich is professor of sociology at CUNY Graduate Center and City College of New York and served as director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College. He is author of eleven books, including The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of American Orthodoxy and Against All Odds: Holocaust Survivors and the Successful Lives They Made in America, which won the 1993 National Jewish Book Award.

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