CRM 2306 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Total Institution, Symbolic Interactionism, Erving Goffman

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Lecture 7
Who are you?
Dramaturigical approach:
-Fronts provides others with impressions
-Playing the role establishes social identity,  become who one is.
-Goffman says that our social identities are shaped by our statuses. Members of society are
comparable to actors on a stage, our behaviour is taking place in the presence of others. We
become what we practice being (symbolic interactionism). We change our identity based on
others reactions (looking glass self). We have front stage and back stage fronts. Front stage is
when we are in front of others and back stage is when you’re alone.
Prison as a total institution: small segregated society.
-All the parts of life of individuals merge together in these places.
-Social hybrid: it is both a residential community and formal organization (formal institutions
that have particular goals.
Goffman went into mental health institutions and became and orderly to study what was going
on. He published a book called assylums about it.
Total institutions typology:
-Provide care to the incapable/ harmless (no threat just incapable of caring for themselves) ex
elderly
-Provide care to the incapable/ not intentionally threatening ex some mental illnesses, people
with spreadable diseases, etc.
-Protect community from intentionally dangerous ex criminals.
-Pursue work ex allows people to preform better, to pursue work, like for example the military,
boarding schools.
-Provide retreat: intention to provide some sort of instruction ex rehab, yoga retreats.
According to Goffman people in total institutions are there either voluntary, semi-voluntary,
involuntary.
Institutional life:
-Watchful eye of authority: all individuals are watched by authority.
-Individuals share space  all activities preformed there.
-Time controlled  enforced activities. So in other words activities are done according to a
schedule, some activities are forced.
-Organized around institutional goals
When entering a total institution, you already have a sense of who you are. Goffman says you
are presenting culture from where you are from (home world). You are socialized in certain
based on where you come from. You go into a total institution and it challenges that, it sets up
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Document Summary

Playing the role establishes social identity, become who one is. Goffman says that our social identities are shaped by our statuses. Members of society are comparable to actors on a stage, our behaviour is taking place in the presence of others. We become what we practice being (symbolic interactionism). We change our identity based on others reactions (looking glass self). We have front stage and back stage fronts. Front stage is when we are in front of others and back stage is when you"re alone. Prison as a total institution: small segregated society. All the parts of life of individuals merge together in these places. Social hybrid: it is both a residential community and formal organization (formal institutions that have particular goals. Goffman went into mental health institutions and became and orderly to study what was going on. He published a book called assylums about it.

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