A world of their own? The novel and the total institution

Hamilton, Anne (2015) A world of their own? The novel and the total institution. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A World of Their Own? The Novel and the Total Institution is an exploration of the sociological concept of the Total Institution with particular reference to its relationship with English literature, followed by the presentation of Chasing Elena, an original novel. The term ‘Total Institution’, attributed to Erving Goffman (1961) encapsulates an environment in which a large number of individuals participate in an enclosed and formally administered way of life. Chapter 1 of the critical text defines the Total Institution and sets the scene for Chapter 2, which examines selected literary texts that feature life in all-encompassing institutions and considers Goffman’s ‘moral career of the inmate’ in terms of the experiences of the fictional characters. Chapter 3 is a literature review reflecting upon Goffman’s work. It expands the model and metaphor of the Total Institution and includes my original interpretation of the concept called here the ‘New Total Institution’. Chapter 4 offers a close reading of contemporary literary texts in which this new interpretation is examined for strength and sustainability when applied to a belief system, a social structure and an isolated physical environment respectively. Chapter 5 considers the relevance of the (New) Total Institution, initially, in terms of the family. It then highlights specific groups of people who live in constrained and constraining circumstances: those affected by domestic abuse, and displaced persons such as refugees. Chapter 6 turns to the relationship between the (New) Total Institution and the novel, looking at the choices and experiences of the writer and the reader. It goes on to describe the ways in which the (New) Total Institution has informed the writing of Chasing Elena. Finally, this novel is presented in its entirety.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: The electronic version of this thesis has been edited, copyright material removed.
Keywords: Total Institution, Erving Goffman, sociology, novel, family, refugees, Cyprus, fiction
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Reeder, Dr. Elizabeth
Date of Award: 2015
Embargo Date: 22 October 2018
Depositing User: Ms Anne Hamilton
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6787
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 13:15
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2023 09:06
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.6787
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6787

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