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Recycling former psychiatric hospitals in New Zealand: echoes of deinstitutionalisation and restructuring

Joseph, Alun E., Kearns, Robin A. and Moon, Graham (2009) Recycling former psychiatric hospitals in New Zealand: echoes of deinstitutionalisation and restructuring Health & Place, 15, (1), pp. 79-87. (doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.02.005).

Record type: Article


This paper addresses a gap in the understanding of the geography of deinstitutionalisation: the fate of closed asylums. We contend that the closure process was an exercise in both deinstitutionalisation and welfare state restructuring, and examine discourses surrounding the re-use of two former psychiatric hospitals in New Zealand—Seaview in Hokitika and Kingseat near Auckland. Drawing on an analysis of media coverage and field observation, we consider former asylums as sites of celebrity. We find the shadow of stigma to be prominent, manifested directly in suggestions that the former hospitals be used as prisons and in the partial redevelopment of one as a ‘horror theme park’. Indirectly, we see stigma reflected in the physical deterioration of the asylums prior to closure. While this stigmatising is attributable in the first instance to deinstitutionalisation, the evidence suggests strongly that it was coopted and exploited by the forces of restructuring.

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Published date: March 2009
Keywords: psychiatric hospitals, restructuring, deinstitutionalisation, new zealand, mental health care
Organisations: Economy Culture & Space, PHEW – C (Care)


Local EPrints ID: 64121
ISSN: 1353-8292
PURE UUID: 4cc7cff8-b15b-42fd-9b12-6bfc75d7636a
ORCID for Graham Moon: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 02 Dec 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:14

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