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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


This course, Lennox Castle Hospital, looks at the history of institutions in the twentieth century, starting with a case study of Lennox Castle Hospital.


In this course, we consider some of the issues raised by Howard Mitchell who has made a special study of Lennox Castle Hospital, about ten miles from Glasgow at Lennoxtown. His study is the subject of the video clips that accompany this block. Lennox Castle Hospital belongs to the period of the 1920s and 1930s when separate provision for people with learning difficulties was being developed following the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act. In this course tries to make sense of the history of Lennox Castle, and of institutional life in general, through the testimony of those who experienced institutions as inmates and as nurses, as well as through Erving Goffman's model of the 'total institution'. It examines the social bases of segregation, the professionalization of staff in asylums and institutions, and campaigns for change in the treatment of those segregated from society in institutions.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Use Goffman’s model of ‘the total institution’ to organize and explain information that has been observed and recorded
  • Describe the development of large-scale institutions in the nineteenth century which were designed to segregate, control and in some cases, cure, their inmates.

Course Curriculum

    • Finding out about Lennox Castle 01:20:00
    • Explaining what we find out 00:30:00
    • Regulations on visiting patients in Lennox Castle, c.1950 00:30:00
    • On being an insider and a researcher 00:40:00
    • Institutions and segregation 01:00:00
    • Social Darwinism and eugenics 01:00:00
    • Activity: segregation today 00:40:00
    • Skills for the attendants 00:20:00
    • Resistance to institutions 01:00:00
    • Civil liberties campaigns 00:10:00
    • Scandals, treatments and cost saving 00:10:00
    • Activity: living through change 00:35:00
    • Conclusion 00:05:00

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Open University UK