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

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

Paperback Princeton Classic Editions

By (author) Gresham M. Sykes, Introduction by Bruce Western

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 213mm x 18mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 12 March 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691130647
  • ISBN 13: 9780691130644
  • Edition: Revised
  • Edition statement: Revised edition
  • Sales rank: 458,106

Product description

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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Author information

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".

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

Table of contents

Introduction to the Princeton Classic Edition ix Preface xxvii Introduction xxix Chapter One: The Prison and Its Setting 3 Chapter Two: The Regime of the Custodians 13 Chapter Three: The Defects of Total Power 40 Chapter Four: The Pains of Imprisonment 63 Chapter Five: Argot Roles 84 Chapter Six: Crisis and Equilibrium 109 Chapter Seven: A Postscript for Reformers 130 Epilogue: The Structural-Functional Perspective on Imprisonment 135 Appendix A: A Note on Method 147 Appendix B: The Routine of Imprisonment 149 Index 157