Erving Goffman revisited

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 12 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:817
  1. Honor Merriman, general practitioner
  1. Headington, Oxford

    Thirty years ago, when I was a medical student, I read two of Erving Goffman's books. Asylums(1961) examined “total institutions” such as mental hospitals and prisons and showed how inmates can become degraded and dehumanised. The other was Stigma(1963), which I found harder to read, the core of which was about the persona projected by people who carry a feeling of different-ness (or stigma). Compared with the standard texts on psychiatry we were advised to read, these books, written by a Canadian sociologist, were refreshing, particularly …

    View Full Text

    Sign in

    Log in through your institution

    Free trial

    Register for a free trial to to receive unlimited access to all content on for 14 days.
    Sign up for a free trial