By Erving Goffman
Asylums is an research of lifestyles in 'total institutions' - closed worlds like prisons, military camps, boarding faculties, nursing houses and psychological hospitals. It makes a speciality of the connection among the inmate and the establishment, how the surroundings impacts the individual and the way the individual can take care of existence at the inside of.
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Additional resources for Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates
Pp. 166-67. 118 Belknap, op. , p. 192. " CHARACTERISTICS OF TOTAL INSTITUTIONS 63 vational scheme based upon this felt discrepancy which I described as pecuhar to total institutions. " The staff itself may become vaguely embarrassed by this use that is being made of the institution, sensing that the benign possibilities in the situation are somehow being misused. Colonizers may feel obliged to deny their satisfaction with the institution, if only to sustain the counter-mores supporting inmate solidarity.
Also, just as tin mines, paint factories, or chemical plants may involve special work hazards for employees, there are (staffs believe, at least) special dangers in some kinds of people-work. In mental hospitals, the staffs believe that patients may strike out "for no reason" and injure an ofiBcial; some attendants feel that prolonged exposure to mental patients can have a contagious effect. In TB sanitaria and in leprosaria, the staff feel they are being specially exposed to dangerous diseases.
Strong religious and political convictions have served to insulate the true believer against the assaults of a total institution. ^« VII 'S I would now like to consider some of the dominant themes of inmate culture. First, in many total institutions a peculiar kind and level of self-concern is engendered. The low position of 125 Bettelheim, op. , p. 425. 126 Thus, Schein, op. , p. , suggests that the Chinese gave up on Puerto Ricans and other non-Englishspeaking prisoners of war and allowed them to work out a viable routine of menial chores.