Asylum Song

Posted: October 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

‘I don’t want to grow up I’m a dejarnette kid’…

I have been researching into Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation, and have been struck once again by his assertion that ‘madness is childhood’. I went looking for photographs of asylums for children, many of which show abandoned buildings, ghosts of our past institutions. This photo made me catch my breath and think of the young person who wrote it, incarcerated in this place. Madness is childhood.

Here is more on the Dejarnette Asylum for children:

Fucking hell. Dejarnette was named after a guy, Mr Dejarnette who supported eugenics! Great! So being a ‘dejarnette kid’ really has some Foucauldian meanings going down. Michel, what have you got me into??

‘I was here, this was my room…’

  1. marc nash says:

    I love Foucault’s thoughts on madness. That it is largely social constructed to accord with anyone who is an awkward bugger and challeneges our notions of reality/civilised behaviour/society (since Thatcher denied that society existed, maybe she ought have been pronounced mad by this defintiion).

    I refuse to accept most of reality other than as mutually agreed consensus to keep the status quo. I guess that makes me mad.

    Who’d want to be pronounced sane by a mad society?

  2. I love Foucault too. But this asylum song seems to be saying that the kid has some kind of identity in the ‘madness’ of childhood but when she/he (I think of her as she) grows up she might end up in prison. I think! I dunno it’s all very well valuing being not ‘sane’ but the way we treat people who are deemed insane is terrible.

  3. Oh boy, I can just tell that I’ll be thinking about this one for days–how it’s written, what it says, and “madness is childhood.” Spooky.

    • Me too Caroline. And probably more than days, as I am busy ‘Scribbling on Foucault’s Walls’ a lot at the moment.

      Looking at photos of abandoned asylums is not something I’d advise just before you go to sleep at night…

  4. […] Riot Girl (not safe for weddings) has a post on asylums for children. To state the rather obvious, some people – for a time or for their […]

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