The Arts of Imprisonment

The Arts of Imprisonment : Control, Resistance and Empowerment

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The arts - spanning the visual, design, performing, media, musical, and literary genres - constitute an alternative lens through which to understand state-sanctioned punishment and its place in public consciousness. Perhaps this is especially so in the case of imprisonment: its nature, its functions, and the ways in which these register in public perceptions and desires, have historically and to some extent inherently been intertwined with the arts. But the products of this intertwinement have by no means been constant or uniform. Indeed, just as exploring imprisonment and its public meanings through the lens of the arts may reveal hitherto obscured instances of social control within or outside prisons, so too it may uncover a rich and possibly inspirational archive of resistance to them. This edited collection sheds light both on state use of the arts for the purposes of controlling prisoners and the broader public, and the use made of the arts by prisoners and portions of the broader public as tools of resistance to penal states. The book also includes a number of chapters that address arts-in-prisons programmes, making distinctive contributions to the literature on their philosophy, formation, operation, effectiveness, and research evaluation, as well as taking care to explore the politics surrounding and underpinning these multiple themes.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 338 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 20.57mm | 778g
  • Ashgate Publishing Limited
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • New ed
  • Includes 13 b&w illustrations
  • 0754675866
  • 9780754675860
  • 1,983,833

Table of contents

Contents: The arts of imprisonment: an introduction, Leonidas K. Cheliotis; Aesthetics and an-aesthetics: the architecture of incarceration, Yvonne Jewkes; Telling prison stories: the spectacle of punishment and the criminological imagination, Eamonn Carrabine; Victor Hugo and Octave Mirbeau: a sociological analysis of imprisonment in fiction, Vincenzo Ruggiero; Masculinity, violence, and art in Tennessee Williams' Not About Nightingales, Thomas Fahy; Social documentary in prison: the art of catching the state in the act of punishment, Michelle Brown; Thug life: Hip Hop's curious relationship with criminal justice, andre douglas pond cummings; Art, constraint and memory: Egon Schiele in prison, W. B. Carnochan; 'The haircut's on the house': Rebetika songs and Greek prisons, Stathis Gauntlett; Art and autonomy: prison writers under siege, Robert Johnson; Prose and cons:autobiographical writing by British prisoners, Mike Nellis; Resistance or propaganda, self-expression or solipsism? Prison writing and the Red Army Faction prisoners in West Germany, 1973-77, Sarah Colvin; 'Safe havens': the formation and practice of prison choirs in the US, Mary L. Cohen; Teaching and learning: the pedagogy of arts education in prison settings, Rachel Marie-Crane Williams; Comparing art therapy in prisons to 'arts-in-corrections': process to product and back again, David Gussak; Creative encounters: whatever happened to the arts in prisons?, Alexandra Cox and Loraine Gelsthorpe; Harmony behind bars: evaluating the therapeutic potential of a prison-based music programme, Leon Digard and Alison Liebling; Awaiting justice in South African prisons: performing human rights in a state of exception, Aylwyn Walsh; Index.
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Review quote

Prize: Winner of the 2015 Outstanding Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award, awarded by the Critical Criminal Justice Section of the American Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 'for distinguished accomplishments in critical criminal justice scholarship across the most recent two-year period'. Winner of the 2014 Best Public Intellectual Special Issue Award, American Council of Learned Journals Leonidas K. Cheliotis was awarded the ASC 2013 Critical Criminologist of the Year Award. "...essential for all practitioners and scholars who engage in prison arts programming and those who study prisons with any eye toward the qualitative life experiences of incarcerated people.' Critical Criminology 'What is apparent throughout the book is that relationships between the arts and imprisonment are extremely varied. This is a rich and fascinating collection that is highly recommended to both academics and practitioners in this field' British Journal of Criminology 'This edited collection has extraordinary breadth and depth, covering a range of critical issues for arts in prisons. It successfully provides a series of accounts that are largely sociologically grounded but also in touch with the messy and complicated business of nurturing arts in prisons. This is a rich and fascinating collection that is highly recommended to both academics and practitioners in this field' Crime, Media, Culture 'The Arts of Imprisonment explores every connection that the title suggests, from the architecture specially designed to disenchant the imprisoned to the creative powers that some prisoners have been able to summon in the face of systematic oppression. A serious contribution to the prisons' literature.' Rod Morgan, University of Bristol, UK and former Chairman of the Youth Justice Board and HM Chief Inspector of Probation, UK 'This timely and stimulating collection addresses a long-neglected topic of great importance. It concerns not only the production of artwork by people in prison, but also the place of the prison in art and in wider public representations and discourses. The contributions are both international in scope and in the best sense interdisciplinary, traversing the humanities and social sciences in the way the issues so clearly demand. Leonidas Cheliotis and his contributors are to be congratulated for their creative work in bringing these questions sharply into focus.' Richard Sparks, University of Edinburgh, UK and Co-Director, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research 'Leonidas Cheliotis has provided a profoundly scholarly and highly readable exploration of the many ways in which the arts and prison life intersect. The contributions collected in this volume are relevant globally but also offer local depth and range from the German Red Army Faction to US prison choirs, from educational and therapeutic programs to media initiatives and the "arts of resistance". They treat, in refreshing detail, efforts to reclaim dignity and agency but they also raise issues of denial, gender trouble, and other current debates, through the symbiosis of arts and aesthetics with the world of the imprisoned.' Gonda Van Steen, University of Florida, USA 'The essays in this collection go some way to a recuperation of cultural criminology's unfulfilled promise of a new and exciting challenge to its more traditional modes of interpretation...While critiques of the "landscape of social control" are discussed engagingly and with erudition, the enduring effect of this collection is that it incites the reader to admire and support the human ability to resist the call of prison, and its destructive effects, in creative ways.' Scottish Justice Matters
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About Professor David Nelken

Leonidas K. Cheliotis is Lecturer in Criminology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice at the School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London, UK. In 2015 he was awarded the Outstanding Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award, given annually by the Critical Criminal Justice Section of the American Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 'for distinguished accomplishments in critical criminal justice scholarship across the most recent two-year period'. He was awarded the ASC 2013 Critical Criminologist of the Year Award 'for distinguished accomplishments in research which have symbolised the spirit of the Division in recent years', conferred by the Division on Critical Criminology of the American Society of Criminology.
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