Narratives of asylum nurses and attendants, 1910-22
Discourses of dispute: narratives
of asylum nurses and attendants,
The early twentieth century was a period of strained labour relations. Within this broader framework, attendants and nurses were
evolving their own organised challenge to prevailing asylum conditions. Although there were established grievances about long hours,
onerous duties and poor pay, it was the combination of strictly
enforced regulations and the penalty of instant dismissal that fuelled
discourses of dispute in this period. While the influence of the First
‘In greater nations, where large numbers of people create complicated social situations, where one can find plenty of riches, a lot of suffering, and high intelligence but also many degenerated individuals, the battle against self-murder can at times seem hopeless, and the onlooker is lead to believe it's all caused by grim determinism’.
This is how the Finnish physician Fredrik Wilhelm Westerlund (1844–1921) summarised the late nineteenth-century suicide discourse in April 1897. Observing
-and-file soldiers (including Irish, Welsh, and Scottish soldiers) were subject to ethnic and class scrutiny by their middle-class superiors.’
This book investigates this idea with a study of Ireland's experience of combat neurosis and mental health in the aftermath of the First World War. It echoes previous research into shell-shock which foregrounds the necessity to consider continuities with a pre-war discourse which survived beyond the First World War.
Synthesising a pre
catastrophic. To add insult to injury, Irish neurasthenic pensioners were blamed for their illness. Long-held and widespread assumptions amongst British officialdom permeated, allowing Baldie and Wallace to dismiss Irish waiting list figures as being a result of the widely assumed biological predisposition to mental illness.
The Ministry remained influenced by long-held discriminatory discourse despite the progressive compensation and innovative treatment it offered to neurasthenic pensioners. While the First World War has been cited as a clear
Infection and occupational illness in British hospitals, c. 1870–1970
Claire L. Jones
health and risk to specific hospitals during a longer time period and by narrowing the focus to one type of illness, it will become more evident that the introduction and implementation of preventative hospital infection control procedures were not solely for the benefit of patients, but also for the staff who treated them. This chapter builds on Palmer’s work on nurses to demonstrate that, in the case of wound sepsis, occupational health was not only reflective of issues of class and gender but was also bound up with professionalism, and prompted a discourse of blame
included men with a congenital or biological disposition to neuroses. Such hypotheses were a continuation of views held during the war and were a transnational phenomenon.
Contradictory statements that some men were predisposed to shell-shock, yet still accepting that anyone could break down, reveal the ambiguities in medico-military discourse. One clear example of this discrepancy is evident in the report's conclusion which justified the labelling of shell-shocked soldiers as cowards while simultaneously asserting
on to us in that way.
Waterfield even claimed: ‘I have no information, but I suspect a good proportion of the civilian Irish lunatics in this country come from these annual migrants.’
Once again, the narrative of British officials continued a nineteenth-century discourse. Irish migrants, held in poor
Marguerite Dupree, Anne Marie Rafferty, and Fay Bound Alberti
resonates in the present.
In the mid-nineteenth century, although surgeons strove for improvements, a fatalistic attitude dominated discourse around surgery. 29
The surgeon did what he could, but the outcome was hard to predict, in large part due to the difficulties of infection control and prevention of surgical sepsis. From the 1860s and 1870s, with the development of antiseptic and aseptic ideas and methods of infection control, the surgeons came to take responsibility for the outcome. Joseph Lister, for example, blamed himself for poor outcomes
linked with both the experience and the interpretation of sensations. This has important ramifications for the way we think about ‘lay epistemologies’ of health. In this sense, it is not that certain groups do not have symptoms and understandings of their meanings, it is that their interpretations are not heeded by the dominant discourse. In Fricker’s conceptualisation of hermeneutical epistemic injustice, marginalised social groups are subjected to epistemic harms due to a silence – a gap in knowledge. Yet these ‘local biologies’ are most usefully conceptualised
Connections between East and West in the Middle Ages
themselves to the mortification of the Cross, overcoming the impulses of the flesh. 53 The continuation of the Epistle to the Hebrews (13:14–16) summarises the project: charity and sharing (each part personified by Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus in the Gospels), and the implementation of perpetual praise to God.
But were compassionate attitudes to lepers, such as those of Aubry described by Gerard of Nazareth, still exceptional? Was this discourse in fact only a justification ‒ again and again ‒ of ‘exclusion’? The picture is not straightforward. One should