Useful members of society or motiveless malingerers?
Occupation and malingering in British asylum psychiatry, 1870–1914
in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
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This chapter explores the value placed on occupation as a measure of individual worth at the turn of the twentieth century. Within the asylum, providing residents with daily tasks was designed to counter introspection, while aiding the economic functioning of the institution with free labour. Yet this model also aimed to create ‘useful members of society’. This chapter argues that we can only understand Victorian and Edwardian models of work-based therapy in relation to workmen’s compensation and the threat of so-called malingering and outside the asylum.

Editor: Waltraud Ernst

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