Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion

Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion
Author/editor: Dr Carolyn Strange
Publisher: Routledge, London
Year published: 2003
School/Centre: School of History


Over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the mad, the infectious, the deviant and the unfit were categorised and confined to a widening range of isolated places and institutions.  There they were subjected to treatment that spanned correction, care and control.  Through these practices state agencies and expert authorities refined their efforts to classify and coercively segregate people deemed to be undesirable or dangerous.


This book examines the coercive and legally sanctioned strategies of exclusion and segregation undertaken over the last two centuries across a range of natoinal and colonial contexts.  In addition to offering new perspectives on the continuum of medico-penal sites of isolation, from the asylum to the penitentiary, contributors examine less well-known sites, from 'leper villages' to refugee camps to Native reserves.


Exclusionary practices took on new forms and meanings in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and they continue to raise questions about the relationship between coerced isolation and modernity.  Why and how did practices of exclusion proliferate over the modern period, precisely when legal and political concepts of 'freedom' were invented?  Why has isolation been such a persistent strategy in liberal and non-liberal nations, in colonial and post-colonial states?

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