A total institution is a place where a great number of people in similar situations lead a restricted and supervised life. The concept is mostly associated with the work of sociologist Erving Goffman. Every institution encompasses something of the interests and the activity of its members and replaces the reality they knew before joining with one forged by the total institution. More so, when a person joins a total institution, be it by will or forced, it will slowly but surely have it’s personality influenced and eventually changed by the new pattern of life imposed on them. Erving Goffman has identified five categories of total institutions. Firstly there are the institutions for the people unable to take care of themselves and are harmless, such as the homes for the old, the homeless, the blind, the orphaned. Secondly there are those institutions that are considered to be unable to take care of themselves and a threat to society, but without intention. Under this group fall the following types of institutions: tuberculosis sanatoriums, mental hospitals, and leprosariums. The third type of institutions are to keep away individuals considered to be a threat to society: jails, penitentiaries, prisoners of war and concentration camps. In the fourth category we find the institutions whose objective is to teach individuals a technical task: army barracks, ships, boarding schools, work camps. In the fifth and final category of institutions, as Goffman identified them, we find those establishments meant to offer people a retreat from normal society as well as a place of religious pursuit: abbey’s, monasteries. According to Goffman in his book “Asylums”, a fundamental element of modern society is that the individual tends to sleep, to relax and to work in different places and with different participants, under different authorities and without a general rational plan. What all total institutions seem to have in common is that they break down these three borders that normal society has. First of all, he says, all life’s aspects take place in the same place and under the same authority. Second of all, in his each and every moment of life, an individual is surrounded by a large number of other members, being treated identically and being asked to do the same thing together. The third aspect of life in a total institution is the fixed schedule and explicit rules that must be followed. Finally, the reason for all that is imposed on the members of the total institutions is that of achieving the institution’s objectives. In total institutions there is a major and very important split between the people active within its walls. The first and largest category consists of people that are living their life in those institutions, titled inmates. The second category is made of the people for which the institution represents a workplace, spending within its walls an average of 8 hours a day, called the staff.Each of those two categories has grown to fit certain stereotypes. The individuals personalities do not have to accurately fit these stereotypes but they are certainly trained or pushed to behave as such. This is done to maintain a glacial distance between the groups, but the effects do not stop there. In the eyes of the staff the inmates will seem bitter, secretive and untrustworthy, which will, over time, become a reality. In the eyes of the inmates the staff will seem condescending and mean, which may very well be true when we consider that the staff tends to feel superior.2. What do others say about total institutions? John Paul Wright, a professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati believes that Universities, especially American ones could also fall into this category. The professor affirms that the Universities “have tasted the intoxicating power that comes from controlling others” and are now acting against students liberties. He even gives us a few examples, such as policing their Halloween costumes, their private text messages and social media posts.According to Wright, the Universities do not stop here, they pursue a sort of social reprogramming of the individuals, making them more “socially-acceptable” by polishing the students behaviour and identity. Universities limit the freedom of speech in the cases where the speech can be interpreted as not serving their agenda.3. My personal opinion about the total institutions.In my opinion, in total institutions a privatization is formed, a reserved world of its own where rules are more important for people, a world where the continuous objective is reform. Although many tests and experiments from those institutions are merciless and generate physical pain and psychological damage, they have been made to solve other issues, so people will not commit them again or find proper and efficient solutions, eventually even long lasting. First of all, some of the institutions I truly appreciate are the ones that help the people that lost hope, the helpless ones: old people that cannot take care of themselves properly anymore or do not have any relative to look after them, orphans as another example as well; the ones that without the help of other people cannot survive such as the blind and the poor, the ones that actually need and deserve this sort of help. The people that work for those institutions are required to have a lot of patience, thus proving kindness and selflessness by choosing to take care of the ones in need – even if it is surchargeable, it is still remarkable. Second of all, the other institutions that take care of people that I admire are the ones that help and provide support to disabled and mentally ill people, such as psychiatric hospitals and other specialised institutions in treating tuberculosis, leprosy. Those people that are affected by these kind of diseases cannot be blended in with the others, as they can cause damage, as a mentally ill man cannot control his actions properly, thus ending up physically hurting the others around him. I find it quite revolting the fact that people have to be witnesses to some of the experiments, even if they do not have any adjustment to the situation- the observers can develop a post-traumatic syndrome from the terrifying images of people screaming in pain, having convulsions or other crises, watching the pain of the people they might know and maybe had lunch once, thus everyone undergoing the authority of the system. The most merciless institutions are jails, prisons, war prisoners bearings and concentration camps, because of their severity. In conclusion, each and every total institution has its own defined purpose and it follows its interests, this being a continuous and constant cycle.