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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 a breach of 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.
Sociological theory 
Cashiering is associated with shame, stigmatisation, and disgrace. The phrase degradation ceremony was applied by sociologist Harold Garfinkel to acts of public communication which, if successful, stigmatise the subject(s) as being unworthy of the normal privileges of their previous role in society or an institution. A degradation ceremony is based on moral indignation based on violation of norms by the subject. Through communication to the subject's reference group it changes the identity of the subject from one which conforms to norms to an identity which did not. The old social object is destroyed and a new one created which has been shown by communications transmitted during the ceremony to embody the true essence of the subject which has now been discovered and correctly ascribed to the subject. '...the new identity is the "basic reality." What he is now is what, "after all," he was all along,' a traitor, coward, murderer, felon, etc.
Famous examples 
Famous victims of cashiering include Alfred Dreyfus (see trial and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus and Dreyfus affair), Philippe Pétain, Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (after the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814), and Francis Mitchell.
In fiction 
In the cartoon Fresh Hare, Bugs Bunny is being chased by Elmer Fudd, in this case an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Bugs impersonates a senior officer and cashiers Elmer, not only tearing off his insignia and decorations but also his buttons and the rest of his uniform, even his undershorts.
In the movie "Mary Poppins" when a British banker is fired, a version of cashiering occurs: the members of the bank's board of directors ceremoniously tear up the carnation from his lapel, and destroy the banker's hat and umbrella before showing him the door.
In the TV Series "Branded", Jason McCord is drummed out of the Cavalry. His sword is ceremonially broken in the opening credits.
In the Honor Harrington novel Field of Dishonor, Pavel Young is cashiered when he is dishonorably discharged from the Royal Manticoran Navy.
See also 
- Drumming out (also "drubbing out" in some varieties of American English)
- Dishonorable discharge
- Military discipline
- Political rehabilitation
- Holmes, Richard (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.
- Harold Garfinkel (March 1956). "Conditions of Successful Degradation Ceremonies". American Journal of Sociology (The University of Chicago Press) 61 (5): 420–424. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
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