Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

Just finished reading this book. Its read by sociologists and others – it is considered a classic study of psychiatric hospital patients. 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 organisations 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.


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