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In the past, our ideas on psychiatric hospitals and their history have been shaped by objects like straitjackets, cribs and binding belts. These powerful objects are often used as a synonym for psychiatry and the way psychiatric patients are treated, but very little is known about the agency of these objects and their appropriation by staff and patients. By focusing on material cultures, this book offers a new gaze on the history of psychiatry: it allows a narrative which shows »doing psychiatry« to be a complex entanglement where power is permanently negotiated. Scholars from different social sciences show how this material gaze ensures a critical approach while opening up the field to alternative questions.