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Museums
of Madness ????
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Middle Ages
+ Renaissance
• Madness linked to death
and murder
• Expelled from cities and
left wander
• Christian charity
parishes
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1650 – 1800: The Great Confinement
• time economic uncertainty across western
europe – high unemployment, low wages,
poverty, etc. Uprisings against monarchy
• Shift in attitude and need for social control
• Hopital General, Paris = 1656 – not just
mad people, but the homeless, poor, sex
workers, robbers, old and sick
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1650 – 1800: The Great Confinement
• Idleness being reason to round people up,
working became a treatment – along with
chains, bleedings, purging
• Over time, differentiation of populations to
prisons, psychiatric asylums and
workhouses or poorhouses
• Madness becomes object of science
towards end 18th century
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1800’s: Moral Treatment and Reform
• Parliamentary committees uncovered
significant abuses of those in mad houses
• Mad house proprietors and the medical
profession advocated institutions
• 1800’s saw the birth of a reform movement
– Pinel (unchained the insane) and Tuke
(moral treatment - no lash required)
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1800s: Reform Triumphs
• The reformers won – asylums for all, not just the
rich! Nice asylums with external visitors
• Battle for medical control of the asylum
• Madness becomes mental illness, only treatable
by doctors
•
Startling increase in size and number of asylums and population of inmates 1844 =
rate of 10 per 100,000 and 1890 = 26 p/100k;
1827 = 9 asylums, 116 ppl avg and 1890 = 66
asylums 802 ppl avg.
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The Invention of Schizophrenia
• 20th century medicine
• Emil Kraepelin and Eugen Bleuler –
“grandfathers” of modern psychiatry
• Research supported by Rockefeller
Foundation
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John Read + history of madness
1. Social control in the interests of the
powerful
2. Invasive, damaging and/or violent
“treatments” or “rehabilitation”
3. Experts generate theories that
camouflage what is actually happening
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Punishment or Treatment:
Wot’s the Diff?
• Foucault suggests an insoluble conflict between
two models in our judiciary system: between
whether to judge wrong-doing in accordance
with the law, or to diagnose abnormality within
the framework of a medical model.
• This in part explains why its so easy to have
prisons overflowing with people who might
otherwise be deferred to treatment: And why we
need question if treatment is better than
punishment – indeed if there is any difference?
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POWER
Read the Nine Lives Story
punishment masquerading as treatment
POWER = not a thing but a relation (you don’t hold it)
Power is dynamic, fluid and circulates – not one source
Power is productive + constructive, repressive + controlling
Whenever power is exercised there is resistance
We are never powerless, and we are never given power,
we take it, we exert power, we exercise it
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