Tags: goffman, theory, war/military, identity, institutionalization, total institution, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This clip is the opening sequence to Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket." The clip depicts Marine recruits at Parris Island, SC, getting their heads shaved and works well as a demonstration of Erving Goffman's concept of the total institution. Students can be asked to explain the purpose behind the head shaving act, which I see as both a means of making the recruits physically identical and as a symbolic act that strips them of their former identities. Note that this clip can be successfully used in tandem with two additional clips. The first short clip, which is also from "Full Metal Jacket" (here), depicts the drill sergeant further debasing soldiers, and the second short clip, from "The Shawshank Redemption" (here), depicts the concept of institutionalization, when a prison inmate reacts violently after learning he has been approved for release by the parole board.
Submitted By: James Noon
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