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Using oral, archival and written sources, the book reconstructs the experiences of African women and men working in Zimbabwe’s hospitals in the twentieth century. It demonstrates how African nurses, i.e., nursing assistants, nursing orderlies, medics and State Registered Nurses were the spine of the hospital system and through their work ensured the smooth functioning of hospitals in Zimbabwe. The book argues that African nurses took the opportunity afforded to them by the profession to transform Zimbabwe’s clinical spaces into their own. They were interlocutors between white medical and nursing personnel and African patients and made Africans’ adjustments to hospital settings easier. At the same time, the book moves beyond hospital spaces, interrogating the significance of the nursing profession within African communities, in the process bridging the divide between public and private spaces. The book makes a significant contribution to global nursing historiography by highlighting how Zimbabwean nurses’ experiences within hospitals and beyond clinical spaces speak to the experiences of other nurses within the Southern African region and beyond. Through documenting the stories and histories of African nurses over a period of a century and the various ways in which they struggled and creatively adapted to their subordinate position in hospitals and how they transformed these healing spaces to make them their own, the book suggests that nurses were important historical actors whose encounters and experiences in Zimbabwe’s healing spaces – the hospitals – deserve to be documented.

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The function of employment in British psychiatric care after 1959
Vicky Long

16 Work is therapy? The function of employment in British psychiatric care after 1959 Vicky Long As the contributions to this volume demonstrate, work and occupation have long formed part of mental healthcare. Yet in the post-war era, the adoption of the policy of psychiatric deinstitutionalisation transformed the nature and intended functions of employment for people with mental health problems within British psychiatric hospitals, and beyond. This chapter focuses on industrial therapy (IT), which hospitals increasingly embraced as part of rehabilitation

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
Editor: Waltraud Ernst

This edited book offers a systematic critical appraisal of the uses of work and work therapy in psychiatric institutions across the globe, from the late eighteenth to the end of the twentieth century. Contributors explore the daily routine in psychiatric institutions within the context of the wider socio-political and economic conditions. They examine whether work was therapy, part of a regime of punishment, or a means of exploiting free labour. By focusing on mental patients’ day-to-day life in closed institutions, the authors fill a gap in the history of psychiatric regimes. The geographic scope is wide, ranging from Northern America to Japan, India and Western as well as Eastern Europe, and authors engage with broader historical questions, such as the impact of colonialism and communism, the effect of the World Wars, and issues of political governance and care in the community schemes.

The mental hospital Hamburg-Langenhorn during the Weimar Republic
Monika Ankele

11 The patient’s view of work therapy: The mental hospital Hamburg-Langenhorn during the Weimar Republic Monika Ankele This chapter focuses on the Weimar period (1919–33) and the German mental hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt) Hamburg-Langenhorn. It examines the wider political and social factors that impacted on work therapy. My emphasis will be on how patients perceived their role as inmates, how they reacted to work therapy and how they dealt with an uncertain future on their discharge from the institution. I will argue that work therapy meant different things

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
The policies of professionalisation in English mental hospitals from 1919 to 1959
John Hall

15 From work and occupation to occupational therapy: The policies of professionalisation in English mental hospitals from 1919 to 1959 John Hall From the early nineteenth century, some form of regular and meaningful occupation for patients in English mental hospitals had been seen as central to their management, for at least three reasons: first, as a continuing legacy of the humanitarian ideals of moral treatment; second, since a pattern of regular daily activity was seen as conducive to less disturbed behaviour (not necessarily as therapeutic); and, third, as

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
Lea M. Williams

almost a year. The Paris to which La Motte returned in October 1914 was much changed from what it had been when she set up her residence there in September 1913. 3 La Motte too had undergone a transformation in her focus and interests. Having completed her last report on militant suffragettes in London for the Sun , La Motte moved to Paris, where she determined to write her first book, published in 1915, the culmination of her professional nursing work, The Tuberculosis Nurse . This well-known subject matter

in Ellen N. La Motte
Ben Harris

2 Therapeutic work and mental illness in America, c. 1830–1970 Ben Harris This chapter looks at patient labour in the United States from the birth of the asylum to the start of its demise in the 1960s. The focus is on the Northeastern states, where separate psychiatric hospitals originated in the 1840s and multiplied over the next half century. The story told here comes from histories of individual hospitals and histories of psychiatry, supplemented by the medical and popular literature on mental illness, and accounts written by former patients. These show

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
Valentin-Veron Toma

9 Work and occupation in Romanian psychiatry, c. 1838–1945 Valentin-Veron Toma Along with other types of occupation, such as reading, writing and sporting activities, work has been used as a form of therapy in Romanian psychiatry from the mid-nineteenth century. For example, the first workshops for mental patients were created at the Mărcuța asylum in Bucharest in 1855, just seventeen years after the institutionalisation of psychiatry in the Romanian principalities. Work and other occupations were considered appropriate mainly in the treatment of long

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
Sarah Holland

Asylum and hospital farms, the agricultural land managed by psychiatric institutions and on which some patients worked, represented transitional spaces between the institution and the wider community, and are pivotal to understanding the experience of patients who worked the land. Patients’ experiences of work undertaken while in a psychiatric institution were typically narrated by medical superintendents, and thus mediated through an institutional lens. Arguably the voice of these patients has been silenced as a result. Yet even in the

in Patient voices in Britain, 1840–1948
Oonagh Walsh

14 Work and the Irish District Asylums during the late nineteenth century Oonagh Walsh Although integral to the life of the asylum, work – as occupational therapy (OT), as income generation, and as a means of evaluating a patient’s recovery – has been little studied in its own right. Discussions of patient work parties, or the contributions made by particular cohorts towards the upkeep of the institution, tend to arise incidentally and as part of analyses of power relationships between staff and inmates. Yet in the period before the large-scale introduction of

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015