Brief Lives: A Microhistorical Approach

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    In this paper I apply some microhistorical techniques to bring to light the forgotten or obscured histories of the transient lives of asylum patients in Sydney. The term 'normal exception' firmly applies to the patients discussed in this paper. These apparently unusual and exceptional cases in the asylum reveal, when examined closely, a hidden reality of routine practices which could be considered questionable by the standards of the period. Here I speak of the alcoholic who died on his first day in the mental health system and patients who were made tractable by the threat of force-feeding or electrical devices. Reducing the scale to the individual patient brings into sharp focus the hidden dark side of the putatively benevolent policy of moral management as practised at Callan Park Hospital for the Insane in Sydney.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFear of Theory. Towards a New Theoretical Justification of Biography
    Place of PublicationLeiden
    ISBN (Print)978-90-04-49854-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    Dive into the research topics of 'Brief Lives: A Microhistorical Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this