Travails of madness
New Jersey, 1800–70
in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
Abstract only
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Focusing on the evidence provided by civil trials in lunacy in the American state of New Jersey, this chapter first examines how work was considered in its relationship to madness in everyday life outside of an institutional setting. There was a strong link made between work and madness in a society that considered success in work as essential to success in the social organization of the family and the community. Next, this chapter explores how New Jersey’s first lunatic asylum superintendent understood the value of patient labour within his institution. Although asylum work was closely connected to mental health and to varying states of madness the work/madness relationship operated very differently in the new psychiatric setting.

Editor: Waltraud Ernst

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