Structures of confinement in nineteenth-century asylums, using England and Ontario as a comparative study

Bartlett, Peter (2000) Structures of confinement in nineteenth-century asylums, using England and Ontario as a comparative study. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 23 (1). pp. 1-13. ISSN 0160-2527

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Traditionally, historians of the care of the insane have understood their work as a branch of medical history. This paper focuses instead on the administrative structures of nineteenth century asylums. These are geographically specific and historically contingent. The development of medico-legal discourse will depend on localized histories of medicine and law in individual jurisdictions concerned. In this paper, the legal structures of public asylums in Ontario and England in the mid-nineteenth century are taken as a case study of this approach. Consideration of the differences in administrative structures challenges the degree to which the institutions were understood in the same way in the nineteenth century, and can be understood as comparable by historians today: is it appropriate to refer to ‘the asylum’ as a coherent and consistent concept between jurisdictions in the nineteenth century. The answer may well be in the affirmative, but it will become clear that differences in administrative structures are significant, and as instructive as similarities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 23(1) (2000), 1-13, doi: 10.1016/S0160-2527(98)00041-7
Keywords: nineteenth-century asylums lunacy administrative law poor law England Ontario Toronto
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
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Depositing User: Bartlett, Peter
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2012 20:52
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:32

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