Goffman Asylums Essay

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Universitatea Bucureşti
Facultatea de Sociologie si Asistenţă Socială

Asylums. Essays on the Social Situation of Mental patients and Other Inmates =The Inmate Life=
By Erving Goffman

Disciplin: English

Student: Popescu Andrei, seria 3, grupa 2

                                                                                                                            January

:
” The Inmate World”

The piece of writing I have chosen to comment upon is an excerpt from Erving Goffman’s “The Inmate World”, meaning: “The recruit comes into the establishment with a conception of himself made possible by certain stable social arrangements in his home world. Upon entrance he is immediately striped of the support provided by these arrangements. In the accurate language of some of our oldest total institutions, he begins a series of abasements, degradations, humiliations, and profanations of self. His self is systematically, if often unintentionally mortified. He begins some radical shifts in his moral career, a career composed of the progressive changes that occur in the beliefs that he has concerning himself and significant others.” Thus Goffman states that when incarcerated you are stripped of everything you own including your self esteem, as a form of punishment meant to show you the error of your ways. He points out some of the major flows in prison life that affect both the individual and the world surrounding him. In this respect he comprises in a few short statements a cruel truth that most of us are not yet ready to admit, that of defective encarcerment .
As other scientist and researchers see it the prison is nothing but a set of walls.
’. . .prisons are there to conceal the fact that it is the social in its entirety, in its banal omnipresence, which is carceral”. (Pierre Bourdieu). Although focusing on the representation of prisons and prisoners, also pertains — as Bartlow Martin's observation in Break Down the Walls (1954) and Jean...

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