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Alfred Dreyfus being cashiered

Cashiering (sometimes referred to as a degradation ceremony, although that term may be used more generally in sociology) is a ritual dismissal of an individual from some position of responsibility for discipline.

It is especially associated with the dismissal of military officers of high rank. Cashiering sometimes involved public degradation, with the destruction of symbols of status: epaulettes ripped off shoulders, badges and insignia stripped, swords broken, caps knocked away, and medals torn out and dashed upon the ground.

In addition, in the era when British Army officers generally bought their commissions, being cashiered meant that the amount they had paid was lost, as they could not "sell-out" afterwards.[1]

Cashiering is associated with stigmatization and disgrace. The phrase degradation ceremony was applied by sociologist Harold Garfinkel to any act of public communication whose intent is to stigmatize the subject(s) as being unworthy of the normal privileges of their previous role in a society or institution.

Famous victims of cashiering include Alfred Dreyfus (see trial and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus and Dreyfus affair), Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (after the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814), and Francis Mitchell.

Cashiering is also mentioned in Rudyard Kipling's poem "Danny Deever", in which a British soldier in India is cashiered before being hanged for murder.

The act of cashiering in the American "Old West" was depicted in the opening scenes of the popular U.S. television program Branded, starring Chuck Connors in the mid-1960s.

See also

References

  1. ^ Holmes, Richard (2001) [2001]. "Chapter III - Brothers of the Blade". Redcoat: the British soldier in the age of horse and musket (Hardback ed.). London: HarperCollins. p. 159. ISBN 0-00-257097-1.  
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