By drawing examples from a particular genre of literary work—life-histories—this paper aims to describe, how ‘resistance’, a pervasive feature of total institutions, occurs in a variety of ways in different total institutions. Working within the broad theoretical framework of Goffman’s Asylums (1961), this article will assess the extent and nature of resistance that is possible in each total institution, and the amount of agency each inmate is invested with. It will also explore as to ‘how’ the basic characteristics of total institutions create space for resistance and ‘why’ inmates resist. This will lead to an understating of the ways in which the ‘resisting self’ develops—whether it is a result of the inmates' interaction with other inmates/staff, or is a product of their personal experiences before entering the total institution. The discussion will also seek to establish that depending upon how, why, and against what inmates resist, several types of total institutions differ.
Sociological Bulletin – SAGE
Published: Aug 1, 2018
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