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Memorialisation and remembrance: on strategic forgetting and the metamorphosis of psychiatric asylums into sites for tertiary educational provision

Record type: Article

This paper builds on earlier investigations of psychiatric asylum closure by focusing on their not infrequent successor role as educational facilities. We ask two questions: what conditions underpin a transition to educational re-use, and how is former asylum use remembered and memorialised in the successor context? Through recounting and interpreting the histories of acquisition and adaptation at two sites (Carrington, Auckland and Lakeshore, Toronto), we build a narrative that suggests a variable response to the shadows cast by stigma and the vilification of asylum. We distinguish between memorialisation (material reminders on site) and remembrance (narratives of past use). Former asylum sites, we contend, are attractive for educational users for their campus-like settings, range of buildings and (now) suburban locations. For city residents and planners replacing one institutional use with another keeps the site green, brings employment, and retains semi-public access. Memorialisation is often strategically low-key and remembrance more personal and individual. The net result is a relict landscape that speaks to the transcendence of stigma despite the relatively recent demise of the asylum.

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Citation

Kearns, Robin, Joseph, Alun E. and Moon, Graham (2010) Memorialisation and remembrance: on strategic forgetting and the metamorphosis of psychiatric asylums into sites for tertiary educational provision Social & Cultural Geography, 11, (8), pp. 731-749. (doi:10.1080/14649365.2010.521852).

More information

Published date: 25 November 2010
Organisations: Population, Health & Wellbeing (PHeW)

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 196055
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/196055
ISSN: 1464-9365
PURE UUID: 2d7b47c3-e654-444c-8bcd-cd611d4f593c
ORCID for Graham Moon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7256-8397

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Sep 2011 15:23
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:24

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Contributors

Author: Robin Kearns
Author: Alun E. Joseph
Author: Graham Moon ORCID iD

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