By Susan Piddock
The historical past of lunatic asylums – what can we fairly find out about them? movies and tv courses have portrayed them as areas of horror the place the sufferers are confined and left to hear the cries in their fellow inmates in depression. yet what was once the area of 19th century lunatic asylums rather like? Are those photos precise? This publication will discover this global utilizing the ideas of historic archaeology and historical past.
In the overdue eighteenth and early 19th centuries the arrival of latest remedies for madness according to ethical remedy and non-restraint, and an expanding social wisdom of the stipulations within which the insane have been being stored ended in a brand new specialize in the provisions made for the insane in “madhouses”, lunatic asylums and hospitals. based on this new concentration these drawn to the reform of those areas and the hot remedy regimes started to describe what lunatic asylums may be in the event that they have been going to convey the insane again to sanity. during this e-book a brand new method is constructed utilizing those descriptions because the foundation of a sequence of ‘ideal’ asylum versions. A comparability of those ‘ideal’ asylums to the lunatic asylums in-built England, South Australia and Tasmania permits us to go into the realm of the 19th century asylum, and to appreciate the results of attaining or failing to accomplish the ‘ideal’ asylum on existence inside of those places.
Through the case reports of britain, South Australia, and Tasmania, this e-book seeks to spot the forces at paintings inside each one society that resulted in the actual provisions being made for the insane in each one position. will probably be argued that the adoption of the ‘ideal’ asylum gains should be at once on the topic of a couple of key components, those have been: entry to a pool of data approximately lunatic asylum layout; fiscal constraints; the therapy mode followed; and social perceptions of who used to be to be accommodated within the asylum - paupers, the center classification, the better classification, or convicts.
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Additional info for A Space of Their Own: The Archaeology of Nineteenth Century Lunatic Asylums in Britain, South Australia and Tasmania
A few other disciplines have considered the role of lunatic asylum buildings. The historical geographer Chris Philo, in his article “Enough to drive one mad”: the organisation of space in 19th century lunatic asylums” (1989), discusses asylum design. Philo discusses the application of the panopticon design, first proposed by Jeremy Bentham, in relation to lunatic asylums and its ultimate rejection, and follows this by briefly touching on a range of alternative arrangements for ward and day space to support surveillance of patients.
This new treatment was to find its first concrete expression in The Retreat, a Quaker asylum that became the model for the means of putting ideas of moral treatment into practice in a uniform way. Interestingly, it appears that the founders of the Retreat were not aware of Pinel’s work but followed a similar path based on their own beliefs, which were founded in Quakerism (Digby 1985: 32). In some way the new ideas of the treatment of the insane may have been a part of more subtle changes in society as a whole that Porter (1981–2: 15) has characterized as the new belief in the limitless possibilities of improvement in human knowledge and conduct.
The most important aspect of Pinel’s work was its focus on the moral treatment of patients. It is difficult to precisely define ‘moral’ in this context. It encompassed ideas about the treatment of the insane - which should be characterized by humanity, kindness and reason - and about the nature of the individual. Moral treatment focused on using the finer feelings of the afflicted to bring them back to sanity, by focusing on the will and powers of self-restraint. The treating doctor had a pivotal role as he used all of the means at his disposal, including reasoning and talking to the patient, to bring them back to sanity by addressing the particular ideas of the individual (Pinel 1806: 221–224).