The Prisoner Society

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

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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-depth analysis 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 shaped both 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 behaviours that 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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Product details

  • Paperback | 532 pages
  • 138 x 214 x 31mm | 664g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0199653542
  • 9780199653546
  • 1,069,299

Table of contents

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Review quote

This book is highly recommended and deserves to be read widely by prison professionals and will also undoubtedly be a source of reference for academics for years to come. * Jamie Bennett, Govenor of HMP Morton Hall, Prison Service Journal * clearly energetic and resourceful [...] The book is scholarly, with every assertion tested and referenced, [...] well laid out, beautifully written and compellingly readable. * Christopher Padfield, Monitor Book Review * a rich, important, and frankly, excellent study * Jodie M. Lawston, Social Forces * there is no better recent investigation of prisoner adaptation to the modern penal environment. * Robert Hauhart, * The Prisoner Society is a triumph of prisons sociology. In this thoroughly researched, elegantly written, immensely rewarding book, Ben Crewe achieves his stated ambition of revisiting and renewing the tradition of prison ethnography, It will surely swiftly attain the status of a modern classic, and confirm Crewe's reputation as an outstanding prisons scholar. * Alisa Stevens, The Sociological Review * An engaging and beautifully-drawn account of the prison's social and cultural 'innards' which are normally hidden from view. The book is rich in texture and detail, theoretically sophisticated and - perhaps unusually for such a lenghthy book - never dull. 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 will
not disappoint. * Gwen Robinson, The Howard Journal * I have no doubt that The Prisoner Society will come to be seen as a classic text in the international canon of prison studies. Meanwhile, it should be read by everyone concerned with penal justice * Pat Carlen, British Journal of Criminology *
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About Ben Crewe

Ben Crewe is Deputy Director of the Prisons Research Centre, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, where he has been based since 2001. Ben has published widely on prison social life and culture, on the contemporary prison experience, and on public and private sector imprisonment. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Essex, and holds a Masters Degree from London School of Economics and a first class honours degree from the University of
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Rating details

5 ratings
4.6 out of 5 stars
5 60% (3)
4 40% (2)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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