NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ921543
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0741-0883
Occult Genres and the Certification of Madness in a 19th-Century Lunatic Asylum
Berkenkotter, Carol; Hanganu-Bresch, Cristina
Written Communication, v28 n2 p220-250 Apr 2011
Using archival admissions records and case histories of patients at a British asylum from the 1860s to the 1870s, the authors examine the medical certification process leading to the asylum confinement of individuals judged to be "of unsound mind." These institutional texts are, the authors suggest, "occult genres" that function as complex acts of argumentation, whose illocutionary force depends on the success of their felicity conditions. Through the lens of Austin's concept of "uptake," the authors analyze the role of medical certification in the admissions history of two patients at Ticehurst House Asylum in the 1860s-1870s. The authors contend that historical genre analysis plays an important role in the rhetoric of medicine and health, shedding light on the performative power of medical certification, an act essential to the practice of psychiatry. (Contains 5 figures and 17 notes.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom