SS Paper 8 - Megan Kellen SOC 351 Social Psychology...

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Megan Kellen SOC 351 – Social Psychology Summary/Synthesis Paper #8 – November 28 th , 2007 Political Power of Social Realities Within ourselves, we create worlds with meaning and symbols built upon human interaction. The ninth volume of Cahill’s textbook containins four readings: The Moral Career of the Mental Patient by Erving Goffman, Self Change and Resistance in Prison by Kathryn Fox, The Evolution of Road Rage by Joel Best and Fran Furedi, and finally, Commemorating America’s Involvement in Vietnam by Robin Wagner-Pacifici and Barry Schwartz. These readings analyze how we assign symbols and meanings to subjective experience. The first reading, The Moral Career of the Mental Patient , is yet another work from Erving Goffman. He finds that family members, friends and mental health professionals form an alliance against mental health patients. Once a patient is admitted into an institution, the past life experiences offer justification to admittance. Patients then define themselves as captives to the power of the institution and staff. Goffman integrates his theory of maintaining face to those inside the mental institution, stating that they attempt to portray a positive social role. But it is their presence in the mental institution suggests the opposite. Mental institutions encourage patients to internalize their view of reality and themselves but the attacks of the patients’ ideas of self, do not reinforce this attempt. By not being able to maintain face, patients feel they have nothing lose and therefore misbehave. In summary, “those who have no power or wield over the
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course SOC 351 taught by Professor Hunter during the Spring '08 term at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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SS Paper 8 - Megan Kellen SOC 351 Social Psychology...

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