The Archaeology of Institutions
The nineteenth century landscape in Europe, America and Australia was to become home to almshouses, workhouses, lunatic asylums, female factories, prisons, leper colonies, orphanages, Magadelen Asylums and industrial schools.1 These places ranged from large scale institutions managed by local authorities or governmental bodies to the smaller private institution, and were expressive of the belief that environments designed to certain specifications would control an individual's behaviour, whether they were a criminal, a prostitute, victim of insanity or simply poor. These environments can be seen as ‘moral’ environments where the understood moral values would be impressed upon the inmate by the regime imposed, leading to their reformation and acceptance back into society in their appropriate place. These institutions fell in two broad groupings, those that were ‘total’ institutions, where inmates were physically separated from society to enable them to be reformed, and those that sought to reform through daily attendance (Spencer-Wood and Baugher 2001: 9). Total institutions were those that sought to completely control inmates' lives through the use of architecture and material culture (Spencer-Wood and Baugher 2001: 9). Within the walls of the institution the inmates' lives were physically controlled by the spaces provided for their use, and by: “highly routinized and tightly scheduled activities established to fulfil institutional aims” (De Cunzo 2006: 167). All types of institutions sought to reinforce particular agendas as determined by groups within society, and to improve the recipient group to some perceived ideal, whether of behaviour, or moral standards. Increasingly the attention of archaeologists is being drawn to these institutions (for an overview see Du Cunzo 2006).
KeywordsMaterial Culture Material World Historical Archaeology Kaolin Clay Solitary Cell
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