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Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 18. Oktober 1961

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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. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.


"Asylums is an analysis of life in "total institutions"--closed worlds like prisons, army camps, boarding schools, nursing homes and mental hospitals. It focuses on the relationship between the inmate and the institution, how the setting affects the person and how the person can deal with life on the inside.

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Format: Taschenbuch
The fact that this collection of essays has been in print for almost four decades is consistent with its enduring significance. Although Goffman draws on his research in mental institutions, his writings in this book have much broader relevance. In particular, they have to do with the nature of identity, the processes whereby organizations and groupings seek to change the identities and selves of their members, and the strategies used by group members to resist those changes. At a broader level, this book is about the relationship between person and the groups of which s/he is a part. Extremely well written, and very readable with excellent use of illustrative examples, this set of essays provides unparalleled insights into and understandings of the relation between person and society.
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Von Ein Kunde am 20. Juli 1999
Format: Taschenbuch
I want to know more about 'what' and 'how' religion information inside this book.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen 21 Rezensionen
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Little Classic of Sociology 30. September 2003
Von S. Pactor - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I'm not a sociologist, a student of sociology or really, even that interested in sociology. I read about this book in David Orland's, Prisons: Houses of Darkness, where Orland often referred to Goffman's work in this book. I was not disappointed.
Goffman uses a mixture of field observation and references to literature to describe and critisize the theory and practice of the "Total Institution". As the reviewers note below, a "total institution" is an elastic concept. Goffman focuses on "strong" examples of T.I.'s: the mental hospital, prison, a 19th century man of war, monastery. Through these "strong" examples he fairly describes the concept and applies it well.
Less clear is the implications of Goffman's concept to those institutions which are either "weak" total institutions or non-total institutions with total institution tendencies. After reading this book, I saw aspects of "total" institutions in almost every institution I cared to think about: schools, churches, courts, etc.
I think it is fair to say that "All institutions dream of being total institutions." Therefore, this book has application beyond the world of "strong" total institutions. I recommend it highly.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Five Stars 20. Oktober 2016
Von Elaine Rosenfeld - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
great book and came in great condition
2.0 von 5 Sternen Meh. Find something better 10. Juli 2016
Von L. Smith - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Dry and boring. Even for the topic.
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Myth-busting book about mental illness 15. April 2014
Von Timothy Weeks - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Reading Asylums in a shattering and moving experience. Written by Erving Goffman, the book details the dead-end domain of those unfortunate to be locked away in "the prisons of the world" aka mental institutions, prisons, psych wards, boarding schools, army boot-camps, or nursing homes. The damage he uncovers is heartbreaking. What is feels like to be a prisoner in these secret worlds is examined down to the tiniest details.

It's less of a confessional of horrific conditions but a sociology manifesto for the curious reader who likes to "go undercover" to discover why nurses in psychiatric hospitals have trouble finding employment doing anything else (hint: it has something to do with drawing blood). The book concludes with a conceptual breakdown, where with alarming speed Goffman examines psychiatry and its role in actually creating mental illness in this country. Although the writing is antiquated and the prose dusty, the facts Goffman unearths are crystal-clear. I have been fascinated with the history of asylums since coming across Face of Madness: Hugh W. Diamond and the Origin of Psychiatric Photography.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen How confinement alters human relations 11. Juli 2011
Von Mira de Vries - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Erving Goffman's Asylums was first published in the same year as Thomas Szasz's The Myth of Mental Illness. Dutch historian Gemma Blok claims that these two books, by drawing attention to the terrible conditions in mental institutions, inducted a new era in psychiatry. Whether they actually had that impact is debatable, but neither are about conditions in mental institutions.
Asylums is not specifically about asylums, mental institutions, or psychiatry. It is about what Goffman calls "total institutions." Why the book is called Asylums remains obscure.

Total institutions are places where people, called inmates by Goffman, live, work, eat, sleep, and carry on all their social activities. Examples of voluntary total institutions are monasteries and ships' crews. Semi-voluntary total institutions might be boarding schools or sanatoria. Involuntary total institutions are compulsory military service, jails, concentrations camps, and mental institutions. Some total institutions have live-in staff. Others have staff coming in from the outside, serving as a bridge to society at large.

Goffman is interested in the relationships that develop in total institutions: inmates among themselves, inmates and staff, and staff among themselves. He draws on a vast array of anecdotes from various kinds of total institutions. Of course the relationships in involuntary institutions will inevitably reflect the bad conditions and/or injustices of these places, but this is not Goffman's primary concern. He has no problem comparing, for instance, a mental institution to a monastery, when discussing the alternative forms of communication developed by their inmates.

From the point of view of opposition to psychiatry, the most outstanding feature of Asylums may in fact be that Goffman makes such comparisons. Inmates are inmates to Goffman, psychiatric or not. Although not denying the existence of mental illness, Goffman assigns no role to it in influencing interpersonal relationships. The inmates of mental institutions he describes behave as rationally as inmates of other total institutions, and develop similar relationships and coping strategies, unless they are so brain-damaged that they are more like fixtures.

In the last section of the book, constituting only about 50 pages out of 336 (in the edition I read, which was published posthumously in the UK in 1986) Goffman examines psychiatry as a profession. He points out the social role of the psychiatrist as opposed to the service role of other physicians. Today we would call it eminence based medicine as opposed to evidence based medicine.
If you're looking for testimony about how bad conditions were in mental institutions, Asylums will disappoint you. If you're interested in micro-societies - Goffman calls them shadow societies - then you will surely find Asylums as fascinating as I did.

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