How the Design of 19th Century Asylums Helped to Ameliorate Madness

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Asylum designs in the 19thcentury were believed by medical practitioners, psychiatrists, and asylum architects to ameliorate, if not cure, madness. (In this essay, I will use the term ‘madness’ instead of mental illness because as sociologist Andrew Scull highlights, “for much of history, “mad” or some cognate of it really was the word that was used.” So its use here will be in keeping with its historical context and is in no way meant to validate its stigmatising or derogatory connotations.)

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Originally published at on December 17, 2018.

I'm a freelance writer who is interested in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and mental health. Website:

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