By Caroline Knowles
What occurs whilst the mad are set free of the asylum and there's nowhere for them to move? This hard-hitting and debatable new publication strains the phrases on which the mad occupy the city's streets, homeless shelters, procuring centres and quick foodstuff retailers. This social geography of insanity is positioned in the broader parameters of structures of social welfare and globalization, arguing that the 'community psychological well-being care' approach is de facto a method of forget. Bedlam at the Streets is a richly textured ethnography combining stark photographic pictures of individuals and locations with an exam of urban area and the voices of these that we label ''mad''.
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Additional info for Bedlam on the Streets
An analysis of their insignificance exposes the moral and political strategies (de Certeau 1988: 95) of city governance and welfare regimes, and raises important questions concerning levels of social tolerance. Ultimately this chapter is an attempt to tap into the grammar of the city from the window opened onto it by discharged psychiatric patients; and to be able to say something about the places occupied by madness on the urban landscape. The aim is not to discover the underlying principles (as grammar) by which the city works, but to understand the forms of social practice to which it gives rise: a grammar which is talked and walked by human bodies operating in space and time.
Apart from these differences, photographs raise the same issues of textual construction as writing: issues of representation, meaning, ethics, politics and theory. A discussion of visual images is a good place to consider some of these issues – already raised in a broader form in relation to voice and space – in greater detail. Photographing the mad raises important questions about representation, the meaning of madness and its legitimate forms of management, all of which hinge on interpretations of how the mad look.
The Catholic Church’s power and wealth shaped the development of the city: the parcelling-up and distribution of the land on which the city is built was under the jurisdiction of religious orders to the extent that even today there are places in the west end where the meandering street pattern respects monastic orchard pathways in contrast to the grid pattern of streets that otherwise dominates the city. The contemporary built-landscape is still marked 30 M A D N E S S A N D T H E G R A M M A R O F U R B A N S PA C E by large convents and magnificent, ornate, gothic revival churches built in the second half of the nineteenth century: a testament to the church’s power and wealth, now the scene of dwindling religious orders and congregations.