H-Net Disability (history) listserv* has posted an excellent book review of an important new book entitled Permeable Walls: Historical Perspectives on Hospital and Asylum Visiting, eds. Graham Mooney, Jonathan Reinarz.
Here is the first paragraph excerpted:
Graham Mooney and Jonathan Reinarz’s Permeable Walls is the first collection entirely devoted to the history of visiting patients in the hospital and asylum setting, neatly deflecting attention away from a more traditional focus within the history of medicine upon the experiences of patients and doctors within the institutional setting. This is an important contribution to the historiography, given that visiting patients, relatives, and friends in medical institutions is a universal practice worldwide, and that people tend to visit the hospital as a visitor more frequently than they do as a patient. Consideration is therefore given to an experience that is not so much part of the institution, but one that is periodically and momentarily drawn into its ambit. Throughout the collection, visitors are presented as an understudied constituency in medical history, and their experiences are explored in broad social, cultural, and geographical perspectives. It is shown, for instance, that discussion of the wider significance of visiting in fact draws attention to issues such as urban governance, philanthropy, the public sphere, civil society, and citizenship. This is all achieved via discussion of the different types of visitors: patient visitors, public visitors, house visitors, and official visitors.
The entire review may be read open-text, full-access here.
*(Disclosure: I am a book reviewer for H-Net-Disability).