Goffman's Theory on Total Institutions

1714 Words Jul 23rd, 2013 7 Pages

Goffman's Theory
Elaine Tyler
SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
Instructor: Jeremy Baker
July 8, 2013


Goffman's Theory on Total Institutions We interact with a variety of people on a regular basis who influence our behavior but who are not family or friends. Many of these people we encounter because of their roles within particular social institutions with which we interact. They are part of our secondary group members; their opinions and behaviors shape us. Sometimes people live, work, eat, sleep and socialize in a single unit where their lives are largely controlled by those in charge; the organization controls the totality of one's life. (Goffman, 1961) Examples of them
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A tech bangs on your door just as you have started to drift off into a sweet sleep again and informs you that you must be up for breakfast in thirty minutes. 7:15 am: You drag your exhausted body out of bed and grab a cup of the weakest, wateriest coffee you have ever ingested from the nurses station. You line up against the wall and prepare to be paraded down to the cafeteria. 8:30 am: Community group. You discuss at length the rules and regulations of the hospital (only use the phone for 10 minutes at a time, bath buckets are under no circumstances to be kept in your room, no towels or food in your rooms, no physical contact with other patients.) Most people are there for depression, some for anxiety, many for suicide attempts. One or two are there for insomnia, a few for manic episodes and one boy about your age is there for homicidal ideation. You yourself are there for a suicide attempt (flashback to overdosing on 3000 milligrams of Seroquel, sleeping for 36 hours and then slitting your wrists, slicing each artery, spewing blood all over the walls of your college dormitory.) 9:47 am: Code one! A 90-pound schizophrenic girl screams and punches the walls (she hears voices and sees monsters that aren’t there) and a code team is called to sedate and restrain her. Incidents like this are uncommon on your unit but not unheard of. They take her away, kicking and screaming. 10:00 am: You and
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