The last 40 years has seen a significant shift from state commitment to asylum-based mental health care to a mixed economy of care in a variety of locations. In the wake of this deinstitutionalisation, attention to date has focussed on users and providers of care. The consequences for the idea and fabric of the psychiatric asylum have remained 'stones unturned'. This book address an enduring yet under-examined question: what has become of the asylum? Focussing on the 'recycling' of both the idea of the psychiatric asylum and its sites, buildings and landscapes, this book makes theoretical connections to current trends in mental health care and to ideas in cultural/urban geography. The process of closing asylums and how asylums have survived in specific contexts and markets is assessed and consideration given to the enduring attraction of asylum and its repackaging as well as to retained mental health uses on former asylum sites, new uses on former sites, and interpretations of the derelict psychiatric asylum. The key questions examined are the challenges posed in seeking new uses for former asylums, the extent to which re-use can transcend stigma yet sustain memory and how location is critical in shaping the future of asylum and asylum sites.
Graham Moon is Professor of Spatial Analysis in Human Geography at the University of Southampton, UK. Robin Kearns is Professor of Geography in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Alun Joseph is University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Canada.