The Center for Nursing Philosophy is announcing its Fourth Nursing Philosophy Reading Group series.

The fourth reading group series will be co-facilitated by Danisha Jenkins, assistant professor in the School of Nursing at San Diego State University in California, USA, and Miriam Bender, associate professor and director of the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing Center for Nursing Philosophy in California, USA.

The purpose of this reading group is to explore NURSING AND HEALTHCARE AS TOTAL INSTITUTIONS. Underpinned by the work of Goffman and Foucault, we will read about and discuss the profession’s entrenchment in the healthcare industrial complex as an integral function of the prison industrial complex, as well the formation of nursing practice under the auspices of late-stage capitalism. Finally, we will culminate in dialogue on a collective plan of escape from institutional strongholds, and imagine what “de-mortification” of self might look like; who might we dream to be, and what might nursing practice look like beyond the walls of the total institution?

Series details

The series will include three sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, where we will discuss the selected readings. Sessions are on Saturdays (October 21, November 11, December 2, 2023) from 10-11:30 a.m. PST. All sessions will be virtual, through zoom, so internet access is required to attend the sessions. While the reading group is specifically targeted to nursing PhD students from any country, others (e.g., nursing faculty) are welcome to register, as long as space permits. We do ask that all registrants commit to attending all three sessions.

Sessions dates/times and readings

Saturday, October 21 2023, from 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time:

  • Goffman E. (2017, 1961). On the characteristics of total institutions. In Erving Goffman, Asylums, pp 3-124. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
    • pages 74-83 are critical, if you can only read a section of this chapter
  • Perron, A., Fluet, C., & Holmes, D. (2005). Agents of care and agents of the state: Bio‐power and nursing practice. Journal of advanced nursing, 50(5), 536-544.
  • Dillard-wright J, Jenkins D. (2023). Nursing as Total Institutions. Nursing Philosophy

Saturday, November 11, 2023, from 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time:

  • Leib, R. S. (2017). Spaces of the self: Foucault and Goffman on the micro-physics of discipline. Philosophy Today, 61(1), 189.
  • Holmes, D., & Federman, C. (2006). Organizations as evil structures. Forensic psychiatry: Influences of evil, 15-30.
  • McIntyre, J. R., Burton, C., & Holmes, D. (2020). From discipline to control in nursing practice: A poststructuralist reflection. Nursing Philosophy, 21(4), e12317.

Saturday, December 2, 2023, from 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time:

  • Jenkins, D., Burton, C., & Holmes, D. (2022). (Re) defining nursing leadership: On the importance of parrhèsia and subversion. Journal of nursing management, 30(7), 2147-2153.
  • Mckeown, M. (2019). Love and resistance: re-inventing radical nurses in everyday struggles. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 29(7-8).
  • Dillard-Wright, J., Walsh, J. H., & Brown, B. B. (2020). We have never been nurses: Nursing in the anthropocene, undoing the capitalocene. Advances in Nursing Science, 43(2), 132-146.


Register here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting, including a zoom link.


Contact Danisha Jenkins or Miriam Bender.