What can we learn about life in Lennox Castle from the written and oral records? How far does each type of evidence support the view that Lennox Castle is an example of Goffman’s total institution?

Jen Collins
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EXAM QUESTIONS Note on What can we learn about life in Lennox Castle from the written and oral records? How far does each type of evidence support the view that Lennox Castle is an example of Goffman’s total institution?, created by Jen Collins on 05/31/2013.

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Jen Collins
Created by Jen Collins about 6 years ago
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WHAT IS A TOTAL INSTITUTION? BINARY MANAGMENT: Seperation between staff and resident INMATE ROLE: They become a resident with a total break frm their past, achieved via admissions proceedure INSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVE: The inst. way of life becomes the norm BATCH LIVING: Each phase of life carried out with others, no space for individuality. ORAL HISTORY:The oral History gathered by Howard Mitchell gives access to a history not recorded in the official records and it prevents the marginilisation of the accounts of the residents with learning dis. It helps them to be taken seriously. It helps to counteract stereo types esp of people with learning disabilities.WRITTEN HISTORY:Records the factual occurrances, such as admissions proceedures, how institution was run, behaviours (msiconduct book)GOFFMAN AND LENNOX COMPARRISONCharacteristicsEvidenceBatch livingPeople are treated as if they are all the same, without any individuality and controlled by strict rules so that there is little freedom.People living 60 to a villa; eating together as group of 600 people; being entertained in a large group; men’s and women’s accommodation designed identically. Binary managementStaff and ‘inmates’ are controlled and kept separate by two different sets of rules and treat each other with suspicion, with staff feeling superior and inmates inferior.Plenty of strict rules for both staff and residents. Staff could be disciplined for crossing the football pitch; the ‘demarcation line’ between the men’s and women’s sections applied to staff as well as the residents in the early days; staff wore uniforms which distinguished them from the residents and which gave them a medical appearance; staff lived in segregated accommodation, men apart from women and higher and lower ranks separated.Residents were strictly controlled as they moved about the grounds; they worked in workshops next to the wards they lived in.The inmate rolePeople are stripped of their past lives and lose the identity and previous roles they had before entering the institution. This happens on admission when someone may have what is personal and individual taken from them and instead are given the identity that the institution has decided on.The Book of Lennox Castle refers to the residents as ‘the mentally defective class’ (p. 19), ‘suffering from mental disorders’ (p. 22) and as ‘the mentally sick’ (p. 35). There seems to be an assumption that segregation of some people is appropriate. You saw a rule about how to bath people that suggests that residents may not always have been treated as individuals. The institutional perspectiveThe institution’s way of life takes over and determines the way in which inmates and staff experience and understand their lives – often through events and activities designed to create a sense of community.The Book of Lennox Castle is full of praise for the new hospital, the ‘up-to-date methods’ of its construction and honours the far-sightedness of the Parish of Glasgow (p.35) in building the hospital. However, it also mentions ‘sympathy’ (p. 19) for the ‘unfortunates’ (p. 22). These feelings of pride and pity will have affected how residents in the hospital were treated. Isolated in the Scottish hills and within the extensive grounds a sense of community seems to have been created through the staging of entertainment, concerts, films and dancing for the residents, as well as sport, including football competitions for the staff. Not a ‘total institution’? There doesn’t seem to be much evidence to the contrary but you might have wondered if staff living on ‘The Oval’ were managing to live some kind of independent life even though the accommodation was well within the hospital’s grounds. Did the presence for a while of a maternity hospital mean that Lennox Castle was less ‘total’ during those years at least?

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