Theory and Practice from the Medieval to the Modern
Edited By Laurinda Abreu and Sally Sheard
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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