Dr Thomas Mueller
History of Medicine, Ravensburg-University of Ulm, Germany
‘“Patient work” in rural asylums between therapeutic instrument and exploitation of labour force. The case of German asylums in Wuerttemberg’
(Introduced by: Beryl Steeden, College of Occupational Therapists, London)
[27min; 10 slides]
Paper presented to the International Research Symposium:
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Labour and Occupational Therapy"
26–27 June 2013, St Anne’s College, Oxford
Abstract: This presentation deals with various rural asylums in the former kingdom of Wuerttemberg, in southern Germany. Various forms of patient labour in psychiatric institutions are presented within the context of different managerial and clinical structures. Patients’ work in the asylums was organised in ‘agricultural colonies’ and included also various forms of handicraft in and outside the asylum. Work was also part of daily life of patients treated within psychiatric family care settings.
Zwiefalten, the oldest asylum of Wuerttemberg, is at the core of this study, alongside the institutions of Schussenried and Weissenau. It will be argued that some aspects of these institutions’ history differ from practices in other regions in Germany.
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