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, and in some cases ‘sacred’ or rarefied spaces will be revisited in this book. In his 1901 book, Le rites de passage , published in English as The Rites of Passage ( 1960 ), French ethnographer Arnold Van Gennep explored the practice of religion and social ritual through the organisation of space, specifically the spatial transition between profane and sacred, that is liminal space ( 1960 ). In this book, the lunatic asylum will be examined as a dedicated and protected (sacred) space, for which admission involved a complex series of bureaucratic and cleansing

in An archaeology of lunacy
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Conduct of Patients, sanctioned by the mangers to be hung in Day Rooms Whoever shall break windows, or is in other respects mischievous shall have the arms secured. Whoever shall offer violence to any person shall have the arms secured and shall be subjected to solitary confinement. Whoever uses profane, scurrilous or indecent language shall be degraded to the Frantic Ward. The managers of the asylums whose views are amply secured by the conduct of the moral manager

in An archaeology of lunacy
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addition of a gate lodge to asylum grounds, with the associations those buildings had with country-house architecture, lent a level of gravitas and decorum to the asylum landscape, for visitor’s eyes only. Van Gennep’s description of a liminal space, as a space between the sacred and profane which was necessary for the cleansing or preparation of a subject ( 1960 : 1), may be applied to the entrance space of the asylum, overseen by the gate lodge. This was the first phase of the admission ‘ritual’, in which the prospective patient would separate themselves from the

in An archaeology of lunacy