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Therapeutic Institutions of Violence: conceptualising the biographical narratives of mental health service users/survivors accessing long term ‘treatment’ in England

Macdonald, Stephen J (2020) Therapeutic Institutions of Violence: conceptualising the biographical narratives of mental health service users/survivors accessing long term ‘treatment’ in England. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, ahead. p. 1. ISSN 2056-3841

Item Type: Article


Purpose: This article aims to conceptualise the residential and psychiatric hospital as a space where criminality and social harms can emerge. Due to recent media scandals over the past 10 years concerning privately owned hospitals, this study examines the lived experiences of service users/survivors, family members and practitioners to examine historic and contemporary encounters of distress and violence in hospital settings.
Methodology: The study consists of 16 biographical accounts exploring issues of dehumanising and harmful practices, such as practices of restraint and rituals of coercive violence. A Biographical Methodology has been employed to analyse the life stories of service users/survivors (n = 9), family members (n = 3), and professional health care employees (n = 4). Service users/survivors in this study have experienced over 40 years of short-term and long-term periods of hospitalisation.
Findings: The study discovered that institutional forms of violence had changed after the de-institutionalisation of care. Practitioners recalled comprehensive experiences of violence within historic mental hospitals, although violence that may be considered criminal appeared to disappear from hospitals after the Mental Health Act (1983). These reports of criminal
violence and coercive abuse appeared to be replaced with dehumanising and harmful procedures, such as practices of restraint.
Originality: The data findings offer a unique interpretation, both historical and contemporary, of dehumanising psychiatric rituals experienced by service users/survivors, which are relevant to criminology and MAD Studies. The article concludes by challenging oppressive psychiatric ‘harms’ to promote social justice for service users/survivors currently being ‘treated’ within the contemporary psychiatric system.

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Depositing User: Leah Maughan


Item ID: 12259
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ISSN: 2056-3841
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ORCID for Stephen J Macdonald: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2020 08:33
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 14:45


Author: Stephen J Macdonald ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences

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