Introduction
in An archaeology of lunacy
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The first chapter outlines the historical context for the book and introduces the legislative and architectural background to the establishment of lunatic asylums in England and Ireland. The concept of moral management is explored, that is management of the mentally ill in a care-taking, humane manner, which was rooted in a broader shift in attitude towards marginal elements of society, including criminals and the poor as well as the mentally and physically sick. The broader social and political background to this movement will be outlined, with reference to some of the primary writers on asylum reform. The distinctiveness of English and Irish approaches to asylum building and administration will be stressed, with reference to contemporaneous examples in Scotland and Wales. The methods employed in this research, namely archival research coupled with cartographic analysis and analysis of the built and material environment, are outlined, with reference to research recently undertaken on the built environment of English asylums, the material environment of mid-nineteenth century asylums, and archaeological approaches to institutions. The problematic status of asylum buildings as they stand today is outlined, with reference to the building histories. An outline of each chapter follows this review.

An archaeology of lunacy

Managing madness in early nineteenth-century asylums

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