Thesis abstract ‘ ‘Intended Solely for their Greater Comfort and Happiness’: Historical Archaeology, Paternalism and the Peel Island Lazaret’

13th November 2013

Jonathon Prangnell

 PhD, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, November 1999

The research presented in the dissertation centres on an historical archaeological analysis of the Peel Island Lazaret. The Lazaret was located on Peel Island in Queensland’s Moreton Bay and operated between 1907 and 1959 as an isolated, paternalistically run institution for the treatment of Hansen’s Disease. In this study I use the historical archaeological investigation of the lives of the inmates and staff at the Lazaret to examine the role of paternalism as a governing force in the organisation of the place and in the lives of the people forced to live within its boundaries. From this analysis I generate information on the formal and disciplinary power relations that operated to develop and maintain the Lazaret.

To undertake this study I develop a methodology based on the work of Kosso that uses the distinct, epistemic entities of different written sources and the archaeological record to maintain the unique domain of each, yet determine their interrelatedness. This ensures the validity of the original basis for any interpretation of archaeological phenomena. The written records of the Lazaret are divided into those written during the operation of the place and those written after the closure of the Lazaret and that look back upon it. They differ contextually and both can offer different yet equally legitimate starting points for interpretation.

The methods employed are the analysis of archival and other documentary sources, archaeological survey and excavation. From the analysis a number of important developments occur. These include an understanding of the interrelated roles of formal and informal control and the use of space at the Lazaret, an understanding of the spatial and material aspects of paternalism and a demonstration that philosophies, such as paternalism, can be accessed archaeologically.

Prangnell, J.
Thesis abstract ' ‘Intended Solely for their Greater Comfort and Happiness’: Historical Archaeology, Paternalism and the Peel Island Lazaret'
2002
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