The Society of Captives

The Society of Captives : A Study of a Maximum Security Prison

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The Society of Captives, first published in 1958, is a classic of modern criminology and one of the most important books ever written about prison. Gresham Sykes wrote the book at the height of the Cold War, motivated by the world's experience of fascism and communism to study the closest thing to a totalitarian system in American life: a maximum security prison. His analysis calls into question the extent to which prisons can succeed in their attempts to control every facet of life--or whether the strong bonds between prisoners make it impossible to run a prison without finding ways of "accommodating" the prisoners. Re-released now with a new introduction by Bruce Western and a new epilogue by the author, The Society of Captives will continue to serve as an indispensable text for coming to terms with the nature of modern power.

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  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 137.2 x 213.4 x 17.8mm | 226.8g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New JerseyUnited States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised edition
  • 0691130647
  • 9780691130644
  • 315,492

Review quote

Praise for Princeton's original edition: "[A] remarkable study by a scrupulously honest, non-captive observer of the real meaning of captivity."--C. H. Rolph, New Statesman "Sykes's perspective simultaneously on all parties in the prison's social system is unique, and his interpretation is profound."--Daniel Galaser, American Journal of Sociology "The book should be read by all who are interested in, or dealing with, those convicted of crimes. No ready solution is offered, but the problems are brought forth forcefully."--Psychiatric Quarterly

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About Gresham M. Sykes

Gresham M. Sykes is Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many books, including "Social Problems in America" and "Crime and Society", and the coauthor of "Criminology".

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