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The Discovery Of The Asylum : Social Order And Disorder In The New Republic
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The Discovery Of The Asylum : Social Order And Disorder In The New Republic

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  67 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
This reissue of a classic study addresses a core concern of social historians and criminal justice professionals: Why in the early nineteenth century did a single generation of Americans resort for the first time to institutional care for its convicts, mentally ill, juvenile delinquents, orphans, and adult poor? Rothman's compelling analysis links this phenomenon to a ...more
Published (first published 1971)
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Cat
Aug 22, 2007 Cat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culturalhistory
I really enjoyed reading this book, though it did take me a while to read through it. Rothman advances an argument to explain why America turned to instituionalization of different classes of people during the Jacksonian period. His basic thesis is that medical elites feared the growing democratization of American society and therefore advanced the idea that institutionalization could make unproductive citizens productive and simletaneously serve as a model for the rest of the society.
In Rothman
...more
Dave
Jan 25, 2008 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant book indeed. The argument is essentially this: Institutional care arose for convicts, orphans, the mentally ill, and poor in the early nineteenth century because Jacksonian society perceived a "loosening" of the social order (i.e. family, church, and community bonds). The anxiety manifested itself in the way the institutions were set up to operate: "The felt need for order and discipline affected psychiatrists, wardens, and superintendents had a root outside the asylum...in a society ...more
Rachel Oelbaum
Feb 07, 2014 Rachel Oelbaum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much wrote my dissertation for me
Czarny Pies
Apr 19, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
This outstanding history of American efforts to develop new, more effective mental health institutions was a very worthy winner of the Albert J. Beveridge Award in 1971. It was a major work of an exciting new wave of American historiography which over the next 40 years would elevate American historical writing to a level equalled no where else in the world.

American social history was has been particularly outstanding during this period. The basic approach is to combine the brilliant theory of th
...more
Ashley
Jan 28, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, dissertation
It's hard to believe that this book originally appeared in 1971! It's over 40 years old and holds up incredibly well. I found Rothman's arguments about the development of the asylum, alms house and/or work house, penitentiary, and orphanages both interesting and useful. Rothman argues that historians should consider these institutions along a continuum and rejected the tendency for medical historians to look only at the asylum and legal historians to look only an penitentiaries, for example. ...more
Luke
Sep 10, 2016 Luke rated it liked it
Shelves: history, justice
My reading this year is circling a thread of incarceration and race, so I lucked out that a friend is teaching a grad course on the history of mass incarceration - this book is the foundational text I chose to join in on. Treats the early 19c invention of several institutions equally, despite the title: reformers bent on curing Crime, Poverty, Insanity by separating these populations from negative influences and instilling order and discipline. Rothman mostly lets the theories and justifications ...more
Beth
May 13, 2010 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
Classic study of the institutionalization movement of the 19th century and a sharp critique of reformers during that era.
Sarah
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Nov 18, 2009
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Anna Nowinski
History of the institutionalization of the united states. Dull writing.
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