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Download A History of Self-Harm in Britain: A Genealogy of Cutting by Chris Millard PDF

By Chris Millard

This e-book is open entry below a CC by way of license and charts the increase and fall of assorted self-harming behaviours in twentieth-century Britain. It places self-cutting and overdosing into old standpoint, linking them to the massive alterations that happen in psychological and actual healthcare, social paintings and wider politics.

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In a context wherein collective responsibility for health and social security is established, this idea of health and disease as socially embedded and communicative is widespread. 86 In Jurgen Ruesch and Gregory Bateson’s Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry (1951), Ruesch touches upon the practical shifts mentioned above, noting that ‘[p]sychiatrists have moved out of the enclosing walls of mental institutions and have found a new field of activity in the general hospitals of the community and in private practice’.

The woman has committed attempted murder [sic], and you should charge her ... 3 Ashby dies two days later. 4 There is acknowledgement of ambiguity around the issue of responsibility, but there is one certainty: ‘[T]he police are responsible for ensuring that ... 5 40 Early Twentieth-Century Self-Harm 41 As this case is not read as a cry for help, and as it involves neither an overdose nor cutting of the arms, this might seem a strange place to start. The relevance of this case is that it shows how behaviour broadly conceived as self-destructive comes to the attention of hospitals (and more generally) in context-specific ways.

The Local Government Act 1929 abolishes the Poor Law, and the Mental Treatment Act 1930 broadens the scope for uncertified – so-called ‘informal’ – mental treatment. This brings mental and general medical therapeutics closer together, principally around the old workhouse mental blocks in former Poor Law infirmaries, now called mental observation wards in local authority hospitals. These wards are associated with mental illness and the use of restraint, but also as a diagnostic ‘clearing station’, a place where mental and general medicine interact, forming a distinctive field of visibility.

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