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A field of practise or a mere house of detention? : the asylum and its integration, with special reference to the county asylums of Yorkshire, c.1844-1888

Ellis, Robert (2001) A field of practise or a mere house of detention? : the asylum and its integration, with special reference to the county asylums of Yorkshire, c.1844-1888. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    The nineteenth century witnessed a continuous growth in both the number of lunatic
    asylums, and in the numbers of people held within them. For many, contemporaries,
    and more recent commentators alike, the period was marked by the growing failure of
    the asylum as a curative institution. The reasons cited for this failure have varied, and
    at different times attention has focussed on a number of key themes. The purpose of
    this thesis is to critically examine each of these themes and to assess the expectations
    of those who built the asylum, those who worked in it, those who lived near it, and
    perhaps most importantly of all, those who used it. As such, the six chapters examine
    the asylum management and their motivations; the social separation of the insane
    patient, and how this was affected by external factors; the asylum's relationship with
    the various Poor Law authorities; the motivations that the families of the insane had
    for committing, and not committing their kin; the treatment regimes within the
    asylums, and how they differed between the sexes; and the central role that the
    asylum attendants had in caring for the insane.

    In each of these areas, perceptions of the asylums' supposed failure will be called into
    question, and there will be a continuing consideration of its function as both a
    custodial and a curative institution. Recent studies of extra-institutional care have
    emphasised that treatment in the asylum remained just one option in the `mixed
    economy of care'. Building on this, this thesis contests that the continued growth and
    development of the asylum system could not rest on its custodial function alone.
    Conversely, it shows that its ability to `cure' significant numbers of people continued
    to be a significant factor throughout the period.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Nineteenth century, History
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
    D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
    Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 10:51
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:38


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