Stories of violence, danger, and men out of control
passages between cars or compartments. Once the train was in motion, there was also no easy way to signal for help or to exit the train.
Stories of madmen on the railways were so frequent in the mid-1860s that one can identify a mediapanic.
Brutal assaults were related in painstaking detail and consistent frequency for over a decade. Headlines like ‘Another Madman in a Railway Train’ could make it seem as though madmen were stalking every train in Britain
Out of his Mind is a study of the consequences of a diagnosis of insanity for men, their families, their friends, and the culture at large. Studying the madman allows for an exploration of the cultural expectations of male behaviour, how men responded to those norms in their lived experiences, and what defined the bare minimums of acceptable male behaviour. Men’s authority in society was rooted in control over dependants within their household and beyond; without that power, the foundation of their manhood was in question. As such, madness touched on a key tenet of nineteenth-century masculinity: control. Building on accounts from sufferers, doctors, government officials, journalists, and novelists, Out of his Mind offers insight into the shifting anxieties surrounding men in mental distress. Exploring everything from wrongful confinement panics, to cultures of shame and stigma, to fears of degeneration, this study makes an important contribution to histories of gender and medicine. This text puts the madman at the centre of the history of Victorian masculinity and helps us better understand the stigma of men’s mental illness that continues to this day.
status and position, and demonstrate a complete breakdown in family coherence. The chapter ends with a discussion of the Windham case, the longest and most expensive Chancery lunacy case in history, where a man fought to secure his absolute ability to do as he pleased. This case was a very public airing of scepticism about the authority and legitimacy of lunacy ‘experts’. This chapter also engages with long-running suspicions of private asylums.
‘Mediapanics’ places the cultural representation of madness as its central focus. Stories of madmen as
Home video, sex crime and indeterminacy in Capturing the Friedmans
has suggested that in some cases, ‘the personal can become political, moving the audience beyond a fleeting fix of voyeurism to
fresh perceptions about the workings of the contemporary or historical world.’44 How might this be true for Capturing the Friedmans?
I would argue that (for some but not all of its audiences) the film
can be seen as effectively humanising, and so rendering watchable,
engaging, and ‘real’, issues of police procedure, legal process, mediapanic, community hysteria, and ‘deviant’ sexuality. These topics
How the Communist Party of Great Britain discovered punk rock
a stir in the music press, presenting a challenge to the conceits of the
music industry and reconfiguring pop’s aesthetic in ways that foregrounded
youthful rebellion amidst political signifiers and wilful iconoclasm. The
Clash, who offered social-realist ballast to the Pistols’ negation, would
make their stage debut on 4 July. Come the end of the year, moreover,
and the furore that followed the Sex Pistols’ ‘foul-mouthed’ appearance
on Thames Television’s teatime Today programme stoked a mediapanic
that propelled punk into popular consciousness.9 The
witnessed a mediapanic over post-war juvenile
delinquency, which asserted that pampered teenagers had forsaken their
parents’ values for instant gratification and violent crime. 4 In the 1960s, race as
well as age was foregrounded, following the 1958–59 race riots in
Notting Hill, as ‘social problem films’ switched their focus to
immigrant youth. 5 The media
creation of generational conflict had real
violence and mediapanics.
A definite marker of middle-class status became the ability to restrain and control that violence; yet still it was seen as an inherent masculine trait. J.C. Wood, Violence and Crime in Nineteenth Century England: The Shadow of Our Refinement (London, 2004), p. 37.
right-wing authors such
as Charles Murray had portrayed as being, instead, the result
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Aspects of Bauman’s sociology of postmodernity161
of wilful fecklessness, low intelligence and a host of other
It is particularly surprising that Bauman makes little reference
to similar debates in Britain, although a whole spate of publications
and mediapanics had succeeded in raising public anxieties. By the
time Bauman composed his Work, Consumerism and the New Poor,
at least two important books by British
, Brig. This protest received widespread press
coverage, even making the front page of The Times, as it was reported that
between four and five hundred students had jostled the Queen. The press
also printed a picture of a student drinking from a bottle of wine in front
of the Queen.35 The Times printed almost thirty articles about this protest
in 1972, mainly because it contributed to mediapanics about the unruly
behaviour of students and their increasingly anti-authoritarian views. The
the women of the
Manliness and Criminal Justice in Victorian England (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 2–8.
77 J. Archer and J. Jones, ‘Headlines from history: violence in the press,
1850–1914’, in E. Stanko (ed.), The Meanings of Violence (London:
Routledge, 2003), pp. 17–31.
78 J. Davis, ‘The London garrotting panic of 1862: a moral panic and the
creation of a criminal class in mid-Victorian England’, in Gatrell et
al., Crime and the Law, R. Sindall, Street Violence in the Nineteenth
Century: MediaPanic or Real Danger? (Leicester: Leicester University