‘Interrogating Institutionalisation: the Irish case, 1939-1991’
Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, National University of Ireland Galway
C001 - Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington Building, UCD, 1 pm, 12th May 2016
The topic of institutionalisation and child welfare in Ireland has garnered increasing national and international public and scholarly attention over the past twenty years. This talk will address the topic from the beginning of the Second War World to the introduction of the 1991 Child Care Act. The objective of the talk is to provide an overview of the child welfare system in Ireland as a case study, with a focus specifically on discourses of Institutionalisation surrounding a collection of key moments. In this context, it will highlight three critical themes: the role of economics; parentage and gender; and the relationship between the state and the Church. I will then reflect on methodological considerations before offering some concluding thoughts relevant to a wider European audience in relation to Institutionalisation. The paper will address both historical and contemporary concerns looking beyond 1939 to gain an image of the institution in Ireland; as well as the history of child welfare legislation from 1838 and looking forward past 1991 to reflect on the significance of the past for our present. It will address a number of key sources, in particular the archive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, is lecturer in history at the National University of Ireland Galway. Her research centres on the history of women, childhood and youth. Author of The Cruelty Man: Child Welfare, the NSPCC and the State in Ireland, 1889-1956 (MUP, 2013), and articles on child neglect, nurse children, the industrial school system and deserted wives, she is an editor of Soathar: the Journal of the Irish Labour History Society and co-director of the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class. In 2016, she co-edited a Special edition of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, and she is currently looking at the history of youth and youth culture in Ireland.