Lakeshore Asylum Cemetery Project “Spring Visit and Clean-Up,” Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 1:00 pm

Click here for previous posts about Lakeshore Asylum Cemetery Project >

Message from Ed Janiszewski:


“Spring Visit and Clean-Up”

Saturday May 18, 2024
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The historic Lakeshore Asylum Cemetery is located (and easy to miss unless you know to look for it) at the north-east corner of Horner Ave. and Evans Ave. Jaan Pill photo

To remember and honour in a dignified and respectful way the lives of the 1511 people buried in the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery and to acknowledge their contributions to our community.

We will be gathering to do some yard work and freshen up the grounds.

Grass/Hedge clippers and Lawn-edger will be useful. You are welcome to join us. Donations of artificial flowers would also be appreciated.

For More information please contact:
Among Friends at 416-251-8666

Directions to the Cemetery:

TTC – From the Royal York Subway take the #15 Evans bus to the northeast corner of Evans and Horner Avenue where the cemetery is located. From Kipling Subway, take the #44 Kipling South bus to Evans Ave. and walk east.

Cars – The cemetery is just south of the on-ramp to the QEW where Evans and Horner meet. There is a parking lot on the south side of the Evans Ave.

[End of message]

Previous posts about asylums

Click here for previous posts about asylums >

I’ve recently bought a copy of Greg Smith’s 2006 book about Erving Goffman.

A previous post shares quotes from the book:

Erving Goffman began his graduate work in Chicago in 1945

An additional quote (p. 81) from the same book (regarding Asylums (1961a) by Erving Goffman) reads:

There is a conspicuous discrepancy between the highly developed reflexivity Goffman ascribes to the human agent and his own fly-on-the­ wall ‘I am a camera’ conception of his fieldwork role. What does this put at risk? Goffman as it were, absents himself from his own acute and astute observations of patient life. By providing a fragmented account that routinely neglects his own lively ethnographic presence, he fails to inspire the confidence that would assure readers that they could share Goffman ‘s interpretations of events (Fairbrother 1977). It is almost as if Goffman ‘s prodigious observational talents render these conventional bases of ethnographic authority redundant. Too often Goffman ‘s writing stuns his readers into agreement with his portrayal.

Twenty years on, in what was admittedly already a changed institution, many of Goffman ‘s observations about secondary adjustments seemed nowhere near as commonplace as Goffman implies (Peele et al. 1977). Much later, and after Goffman had lived through his wife’s mental illness and suicide, he reported ‘that had he been writing Asylums at that point, it would have been a very different book’ (Mechanic 1989: 148).

Social theorizing in a Goffmanesque manner

Recently I’ve been reading many works by Goffman along with articles about his contributions to sociology. For example, I’m recently been reading an online 2023 article by David Inglis and Christopher Thorpe:

Beyond the “inimitable” Goffman: from “social theory” to social theorizing in a Goffmanesque manner

An excerpt reads:

Probably the most ubiquitous essentialist reading of Goffman involves claiming he was ultimately a Symbolic Interactionist. This is the predominant representation of him in textbooks (Brown, 2003; Carrothers and Benson, 2003). But this is an interpretation which Goffman explicitly distanced himself from, indicating that Symbolic Interactionism was too vague on how interactions were concretely organized (Verhoeven, 1993, p. 334–5). For Rawls (1987, p. 145), it is Goffman’s (1983) proposal of the notion of an interaction order sui generis which distinguishes him from most brands of interactionist sociology, as the latter do not consider interaction as a domain per se, but instead study how interactions either reproduce or create social institutions.

Moreover, Symbolic Interactionism has various constituent features, and to label Goffman in that general way does not indicate which of these features he was most influenced by. One element is the social behaviorism of George Herbert Mead, where visible conducts are examined rather than internal states of mind. Goffman (1967, p. 3) could be described as adopting such a behaviorist approach in at least some of his work, such as Interaction Ritual, which begins by identifying—in the gendered parlance of the time—the object of study not as “men and their moments,” but rather as “moments and their men.”

Goffman has also been portrayed as essentially a social structuralist (Gonos, 1977; Denzin and Keller, 1981). This interpretation appeared as a reaction to the Symbolic Interactionist one. As Smith (1999, p. 4) notes, “structuralist readings applaud Goffman’s sociology for downgrading individual agency by insisting on the determinative role of occasions, frames, and associated semiotic codes.” He adds that “this is useful to a degree but unfortunately neglects Goffman’s compensatory awareness of interactants’ capacity to improvise creatively when faced with insults, duress, frame ambiguities, and the like.”

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