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Title: Managing madness : discourse and day-to-day practice in English public lunatic institutions founded up to 1765
Author: Wycherley, Robert Jeffrey
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2013
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Published histories of madness have commonly cited inhumane practices in early English menial institutions as a negative baseline for judging subsequent management of lunacy, though adequate primary research on these institutions has been lacking, This raises the questions, pursued in this research project, as to how these institutions actually functioned, and what their governors saw as their role? The project examines the formation, maintenance, dissemination and practical expression of the ethos of the governors of early institutions for lunatics using material from the archives of all English public institutions for the mad founded up to 1765, supplemented by additional contextual information collected at the same time, The geographical and temporal limits of the sample were imposed because of the volume of material involved, and in order to focus on the period inadequately researched in published histories, The thesis describes significant processes in the formation, maintenance and change of the governors' ethos, and its diffusion into the body of staff running the institutions, Its content is also described in the form of four discourses: 1. The Discourse of Confinement, concerning three institutional justifications for confining lunatics; public protect ion, care and cure. It is suggested that the initial justification of public protection, while remaining in use, was largely supplanted by what have been termed the "rhetorics" of care and cure which served to obfuscate the confining nature of the institutions. 2. The Discourse of Control and Commerce, concerning issues related to the appointment, monitoring and control of staff, and the financial, and other, management of the institutions. 3. The Discourse of Care, concerning elements of institutional practice which can be seen as directly caring. It describes care ex tended 10 inmates and staff, to their families, to tenants and to the institutions' neighbours. 4. The Discourse of Piety concerning the absence of supernatural explanations of madness which were expected in the sampled material, together with issues of religious observance, particularly the issue of whether the mad could benefit from divine service, and visits from the clergy. The governors' ethos, particularly in its transmission downwards, was constantly challenged by unanticipated events, staff misconduct and inmate resistance. Examples of these, and the governors' handling of them, are detailed for each discourse and considered as catalysts for institutional change. The influence of the institutions on each other, and those which came later, is then discussed, and they are considered within their broader social context. The major conclusions of the project are presented and its methods critically assessed. Finally, some future research directions are outlined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available