The Prisoner Society: Power, Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison

Paperback | February 15, 2012

byBen Crewe

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While the use of imprisonment continues to rise in developed nations, we have little sociological knowledge of the prison's inner world. Based on extensive fieldwork in a medium-security prison, The Prisoner Society: Power, Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison provides an in-depthanalysis of the prison's social anatomy. It explains how power is exercised by the institution, individualizing the prisoner community and demanding particular forms of compliance and engagement. Drawing on prisoners' life stories, it supplies a detailed typology of adaptive styles, showing how different prisoners experience and respond to the new range of penal practices and frustrations. It then explains how the prisoner society - its norms, hierarchy and social relationships - is shapedboth by these conditions of confinement and by the different backgrounds, values and identities that prisoners bring into the prison environment. Through this analysis, this meticulously researched book aims to revive and update the dormant tradition of prison ethnography. It provides an empirical snapshot of a modern prison, documenting the aims and techniques of contemporary imprisonment and illuminating the social structures and behavioursthat they generate. Through a penetrating account of power relations throughout the institution, the author documents the pains of modern imprisonment, the new techniques of survival, and the prison's distinctive forms of trade, friendship and everyday culture.

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While the use of imprisonment continues to rise in developed nations, we have little sociological knowledge of the prison's inner world. Based on extensive fieldwork in a medium-security prison, The Prisoner Society: Power, Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison provides an in-depthanalysis of the prison's social anatomy. It e...

Dr Ben Crewe is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge, and is a Nuffield Foundation New Career Development Fellow in social sciences. He is also a Research Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge. He has published widely on prison life and media culture.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:528 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:February 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199653542

ISBN - 13:9780199653546

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Penal Context and History3. Institutional Culture and Power in HMP Wellingborough4. Power5. Adaptation, Compliance and Resistance6. The Prisoner Hierarchy7. Friendship and Social Relations8. Everyday Social Life and Culture9. Concluding CommentsAppendixNotes on the Research Process

Editorial Reviews

"This impressive volume in the highly regarded Clarendon Studies in Criminology series represents a major contribution to the tradition of sociological studies of the prison...a significant investment...it will not disappoint" --Gwen Robinson. The Howard Journal