After Asylums and Orphanages

Katren Rogers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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In this dissertation, I investigate the effect of partisan politics on the types of care policies that replaced asylums and orphanages between 1950 and 2015. Combining insights from the historical-sociological literature on party formation and theories of welfare politics, I formulate a theory of the partisan politics of care and apply it to two uniquely old care policy areas. While asylums and orphanages have widely been understood as institutions of social control, they also served a social care function, to substitute for family-based care. During the era of deinstitutionalisation, the care of people with chronic and severe mental illness and children who could not be cared for by their parents was shifted away from large, custodial institutions in countries throughout Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The deinstitutionalisation movement was shaped by changing scientific knowledge and ideas, professional specialisation, the lobbying of action groups against asylums and orphanages, and growing fiscal pressure. But asylums and orphanages could not simply be closed down. Governments were faced with choices about who should become responsible for the care of formerly institutionalised populations: the state, the market, the family, or voluntary providers. I demonstrate that these choices were decisively shaped by partisan conflict, not only over redistribution, but also over how society should be organised: around individuals or families. This study of the multidimensional politics of care policy contributes to theoretical debates in comparative politics about the dimensionality of party competition and how partisanship shapes welfare policy making over time. The empirical conclusions will also be of broader interest to scholars of the relationship between science and policy making.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Political Science
  • Lindvall, Johannes, Supervisor, External person
  • Mukhtar-Landgren, Dalia, Assistant supervisor
Award date2022 Dec 2
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-8039-444-4
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-8039-443-7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2022-12-02
Time: 10:00
Place: Edens hörsal, Allhelgona kyrkogata 14, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Garritzmann, Julian
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Goethe University Frankfurt

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science

Free keywords

  • partisan politics
  • multidimensional politics
  • deinstitutionalisation
  • welfare state
  • care


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