Society of Captives Thesis

The society of captives thesis refers to how closed, total institutions such as prisons have been extended to entire societies with significant and widespread consequences, including excessive controls, dehumanization, removal of agency, stripping of common identities, and, most notably, reproduction of our captivity. Total institutions are generally closed, fixed, and significantly isolated externally and tend to develop their own subcultures or societies. The works of Erving Goffman and Gresham Sykes provide examples of asylums, the military, prisons, training academies, nursing homes, and other segregated facilities with their own rules, structures (formal and informal), and systems of values. Populated by captives, a society forms and crystallizes with a distinct formal hierarchy, with a distribution of formal statuses in conjunction with informally created and maintained status hierarchies. ...

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