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Hospital Life

Theory and Practice from the Medieval to the Modern

Edited By Laurinda Abreu and Sally Sheard

This edited volume originates in the 2011 conference of the International Network for the History of Hospitals, held in Lisbon and Évora, Portugal. It focuses on how institutions for the care and cure of the sick have organised their activities at every level, from the delegation of medical treatments between groups of practitioners, to the provision of food and supplies and the impact of convalescence on lengths of hospital stays. It draws on new European and North American research which highlights an area of medical history that has not yet had adequate, sustained attention, discussing the tensions between theory and practice and between patients and practitioners. Through detailed case studies and comparative analyses it explores the changing and evolving understanding of the function of hospitals, and their wider relationships with their communities.


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John Chircop Management and Therapeutic Regimes in Two Lunatic Asylums in Corfu and Malta, 1837-187


John Chircop Management and Therapeutic Regimes in Two Lunatic Asylums in Corfu and Malta, 1837–1870 Through the looking glass of two forgotten lunatic asylums, set in the British colonial sites of Corfu – in the Protectorate of the Ionian Islands – and Malta, this study seeks to explore aspects of the daily life of the insane patients in confinement.1 It does so from research of contempo- rary material and archival records and by engaging with the theoretical debates and insights drawn from the literature on the lunatic asylums in nineteenth-century Europe and in the wider British Empire.2 Even from its preliminary stage, the research immediately propelled our theoretical engagement towards the more recent post-Foucaultian revisionist histo- ries that have taken a sharply critical stance against the ‘general confine- ment’ thesis which ascribes to the lunatic asylums the sole function of state instruments of social control managed, from top to bottom, with little if 1 The Ionian Islands and Malta, together with Gibraltar, came under British domain: the first islands as a Protectorate from 1814 until 1864 when they were ceded to Greece and the second as a colony until 1964. 2 L.D. Smith, Cure, Comfort and Safe Custody: Public Lunatic Asylums in Early Nineteenth Century England (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1999); Roy Porter, A Social History of Madness. Stories of the Insane (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989); Jonathan Sadowsky, Imperial Bedlam: Institutions of Madness in Colonial Southwest Nigeria (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); see also Catherine Coleborne, ‘Making “Mad” Populations in...

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