Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Successful/unsuccessful total institutions

In Asylums, Erving Goffman discusses the nature of total institutions. They strip away individuality and "unfavorable" qualities and replace those qualities with uniformity and other "favorable" qualities. According to Goffman, this stripping of individuality may have negative affects than those desired, rejection rather than conformity.

Military institutions seem to be relatively successful as total institutions. On the other hand, the prison system in America is generally considered to be overcrowded and full of repeat offenders, which would suggest that the systems are largely unsuccessful as total institutions. What qualities separate these institutions that might explain their relative success and failure?

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