Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In his 1961 book, Asylums, Goffman introduces the concept of the “total institution,” a formal institution in which the staff has near-total control of the lives of the “inmates,” including where and when they sleep, eat, and socialize. Typical total institutions in American culture include hospitals (mental and otherwise), prisons, military basic training camps, other isolated military settings (e.g., onboard ships), boarding schools, summer camps, nursing homes, and cloistered religious institutions. The fact that the control is “near-total” rather than total opens the possibility that the “inmates” or “residents” will create their own folk traditions, including oral, material, and customary folklore. The folk cultures of residents serve their psychological and social needs, and the folklore often centers on resistance against the regime of control and surveillance by the staff.

Keywords: camps, ceremony, folklore, inmates, military, organizations, play, prison, ritual, total institution

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.