Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care: Introduction

In this special issue of the journal Social History of Medicine, co-editors, Joanna Bourke and Louise Hide, bring together a range of essays addressing institutional care practices in England, Ireland, America and Canada during the modern period. The collection came out of an international conference, ‘Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care’, held at Birkbeck, University of London in April 2016, that explored the question of how belief systems become embedded and encoded into an institution’s ‘culture’ – its language, systems and practices. The conference and ensuing special issue brought together academics to address the discursive shaping and reshaping of cultures that generate and perpetuate, deny and legitimise harmful practices, whether institutionally systemic or perpetrated by an individual – the ‘bad apple’ – or groups of individuals, in sites of care primarily for adults.


Louise Hide and Joanna Bourke
‘Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care: Introduction’
Social History of Medicine, Volume 31, Issue 4 (November 2018), pp. 679–687
Published: 19 November 2018



Joanna Bourke’s essay:
‘Police Surgeons and Victims of Rape: Cultures of Harm and Care’.

Louise Hide’s essay:
‘In Plain Sight: Open Doors, Mixed-sex Wards and Sexual Abuse in English Psychiatric Hospitals, 1950s-Early 1990s’.