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Erving Goffman's Asylums 50 years on

  • Seamus Mac Suibhne (a1)

Summary

Erving Goffman's Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates is a key text in the sociology of mental illness. It is sometimes seen simplistically as a paradigm of ‘antipsychiatry’, and as a key step in the triumph of community psychiatry over narrower, medical models of mental illness. Reading Asylums today, however, reveals that this portrayal does not capture the richness of the text. My argument is that, rather than being an opponent of biological psychiatry or medical models per se, Goffman's key role was in humanising patients and drawing attention to the patterns of interaction that dehumanised them.

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Copyright

References

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1 Holmes, J. The Trouble with Therapy: Sociology and Psychotherapy. [Book review.] Br J Psychiatry 2009; 195: 277–8.
2 Goffman, E. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates. Doubleday, 1961.
3 Siegler, M, Osmond, H. Goffman's model of mental illness. Br J Psychiatry 1971; 119: 419–24.
4 Wing, JK. Laing and Goffman. Self and others. Br J Psychiatry 1971; 118: 360–1.
5 Blewett, A. Neurohawks fight back. Br J Psychiatry 2009; 195: 268.
6 Bullmore, E, Fletcher, P, Jones, PB. Why psychiatry can't afford to be neurophobic. Br J Psychiatry 2009; 194: 293–5.

Erving Goffman's Asylums 50 years on

  • Seamus Mac Suibhne (a1)

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Erving Goffman's Asylums 50 years on

  • Seamus Mac Suibhne (a1)
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