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Title: Power without glory : the culture of a secure psychiatric hospital
Author: Bartlett, A. E. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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Smithtown is a Special Hospital. It is designed to detain and treat individuals with a combination of mental disorder and dangerous antisocial behaviour. This is the first anthropological study of ward life in such a setting in the UK. The tensions generated by undertaking an anthropological project within a institution, whose daily practice and research rely heavily on a medical model of inquiry, are exposed. These tensions are encapsulated in the multiple social identities of the author. Their relevance to the fieldwork and to the creation of the anthropological "other" are discussed. It is then argued, from this specific case that, while at ease with the subjectivity of a social identity, anthropology needs to incorporate more individual elements of the anthropological "self" into contemporary fieldwork. This requires theoretical development of the relationship aspects of fieldwork. The study moves on to describe and compare the social relations and social practice on three wards, two male and one female, within Smithtown. The study was undertaken at a time when there was a mandate for organisational change; managers running the hospital perceived the culture of Smithtown as a problem in itself. The thesis uses ward-based ethnographic material on social relations and social practice to consider the adequacy of anthropological and managerial understandings of culture. Neither ideational or observable anthropological concepts of culture are sufficient, in isolation, for the Smithtown situation. Within Smithtown there is an easily observed social hierarchy, reliant on the primary social categories of staff and patient. It is argued that managerial emphasis on staff fails to acknowledge the interdependence and ambiguity of staff and patient identities. Correspondingly, there has been a neglect of the significance both of patient roles and values, and the importance of the built environment, for ward based social identities and related social practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available