Psychiatry in the Private and the Public Spheres
This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to examine the social history of madness from the perspective of the family. It shows that a set of behaviors which can be called “domestic psychiatry” existed, and even flourished, during the Victorian period. The rise of psychiatry affected, but did not destroy, this well-established set of behaviors toward lunatics in their own families. The chapter explains the author's rationale for investigating madness at home in early nineteenth-century England. It adopts a comprehensive framework of tension and symbiosis among the three species of agencies, namely, the doctor, the family, and the forces outside the doctor–family relationship. Employing this framework, the chapter examines domestic care and control of lunatics as complex interactions among them. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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