Menace role and Pennhurst

Thanks to Guy Caruso for sending me the link to this article about a proposal to build a Halloween haunted house attraction on the former grounds of the Pennhurst State School and Hospital in Pennsylvania, US.

In SRV, we consider the power of negative stereotypes surrounding societally devalued people, including how our actions (consciously or unconsciously) can either counter or reinforce such negative stereotypes. We also take into account the devalued role of menace. Keep these ideas in mind as you read the article. From an SRV perspective, we might think about such questions as:

• If built, who would go to the haunted house attraction?

• What emotions and ideas would be put into the minds of those going to the attraction?

• How would these emotions and ideas be juxtaposed with the types of people who had been incarcerated at Pennhurst (and similar places around the world)?

• How would these emotions and ideas likely influence the way such societally devalued people are perceived and treated?

(See the SRV monograph by Wolfensberger and the PASSING manual by Wolfensberger and Thomas for more on heightened vulnerability, stereotypes, image juxtaposition and devalued roles. See also Wolfensberger’s monograph on institutions.)

Other relevant links:

• Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance

• historical and contemporary info about Pennhurst, including a video

• Pennhurst School and Hospital: Abandoned but not Forgotten

• Pennhurst US Supreme Court case

Posted on September 2, 2010 at 10:41 am by MTumeinski · Permalink
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , , , ,

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