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By Joseph Melling

The invention and remedy of madness is still the most debated and mentioned concerns in social historical past. concentrating on the second one 1/2 the 19th century, The Politics of insanity offers a brand new viewpoint in this very important subject, in accordance with learn drawn from either neighborhood and nationwide fabric. inside of a social and cultural heritage of the English political and sophistication order, it provides a clean appraisal of the importance of the asylum within the many years following the construction of a countrywide asylum procedure in 1845. Arguing that the recent asylums supplied a gathering position for various social pursuits and aspirations, the textual content asserts that this then marked a transition in provincial strength kinfolk from the landed pursuits to the recent coalition undefined, advertisement and populist teams, which received keep an eye on of the general public asylums on the finish of the interval surveyed.

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Extra resources for The Politics of Madness: The State, Insanity and Society in England (Studies in Social History of Medicine)

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It is equally clear that the workhouse itself was a vital clearing house for the identification and disposal of a fair number of pauper lunatics in the later Victorian era. The original 1834 Poor Law stipulation on the removal of dangerous lunatics within 14 days appears to have been widely interpreted by Guardians as a right to retain numerous individuals in workhouses (rather than asylums). The statutory right of detention awaited the The administration of pauper lunacy, 1845–1914 27 19 passage of an 1862 act.

They should be removed from the asylum to the workhouse . . 16 The central personality was the Union Relieving Officer who dealt with all applications and reports from workhouse master, parish overseers of the poor, community or family, and he remained a powerful figure in the lives of Victorian paupers. Even though the majority of those sent to the Devon asylum may not have been in receipt of long-term relief from the Union, they necessarily encountered the Relieving Officer as the first (and effective) gatekeeper of the County Asylum.

Furthermore, our own research suggests that there were and remained divisions among the ranks of the Guardians themselves and that these differences resulted in different Poor Law Unions adopting quite distinctive policies in respect of the admission of lunatics to the asylum, even within a single county such as Devon. The influence of the Poor Law may also be more clearly understood within the chronology of administrative and legislative change during the period we consider. There is no doubt, as Bartlett argued, in the years following the passage of the Lunacy Acts of 1845 the local Guardians were able to exercise considerable influence over the dispatch of pauper lunatics to the asylum.

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