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‘The extreme end of a spectrum of violence’: physical abuse, hegemony and resistance in British residential care

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While researching the history of traditional child care institutions – children's homes, orphanages, industrial schools and reformatories – the author was impressed by the similarities of regimen across the spectrum of traditional care. Underpinning all forms of care was a severe discipline which often became abusive. Sexual abuse was also reasonably common. There were differences but it is the similarities which are stressed in this article, which seeks reasons for the perceived sameness. Children in care came mostly from the same deprived social background, and no matter what the intentions of the carers, traditional care involved a confrontation with cherished working class values which many of the children were bound to resist. Resistance was met by severe staff reaction; hence the violent undercurrent. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: 2001-04-01

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