Chapter

Introduction

DAVID WRIGHT

in Mental Disability in Victorian England

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246397
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191715235 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246397.003.001

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

 Introduction

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This book contributes to the growing scholarly interest in mental disability and its history by investigating the emergence of idiot asylums in England during the Victorian period. By focusing on the Earlswood Asylum, formerly the National Asylum for Idiots, as a case study, the book looks at the social history of institutionalisation, extending the analysis of confinement to the network of extramural care and control. It argues that institutional confinement of mentally disabled and mentally ill individuals in the 19th century cannot be understood independently of an analysis of familial and community care which existed outside the walls of the asylum. In this account, the family plays a significant role in the history of the asylum, initiating the identification of mental disability, participating in the certification process, mediating the medical treatment, and facilitating discharge back into the community. In this respect the methodological approach of this book owes a great deal to the pioneering work of John Walton, Mark Finnane, Nancy Tomes, and Richard Fox, who all identified the family as central to our understanding of the rise of mental hospitals.

Keywords: idiot asylums; Victorian period; mental disability; social history; Earlswood Asylum; family; medical treatment; community care

Chapter.  4771 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or purchase to access all content.