Almost daily, we read stories of the horrific abuse and neglect that has taken place in the very institutions that have been charged by society with a special duty of care towards some of its most vulnerable members.
In this new strand of research, we are deepening our understanding of how cultures of harm – physical, sexual and psychological – have formed and been perpetuated in institutions of care, particularly psychiatric spaces, from the nineteenth century to the present day. What have been the effects of wider medical, political and social discourses on the production of violence? How have spatial layouts, cultural differences and similarities between perpetrators and victims, as well as issues around resistance and complicity, reinforced or ameliorated such practices? Treatment, restraint, consent, confinement and staff training have all played a role. As have the language and narratives used to describe them.
Read about Louise Hide’s new project: ‘Hiding in Plain Sight. Cultures of Harm in Residential Institutions for Long-Term Adult Care, Britain 1945-1980s’
Listen to podcasts of our conference Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Read the special issue of the Social History of Medicine, guest edited by Louise Hide and Joanna Bourke, titled ‘Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care‘: