The Society of Captives

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

3.71 (66 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 137.2 x 213.4 x 17.8mm | 226.8g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • With a New epilogue by the author
  • 0691130647
  • 9780691130644
  • 292,084

Review quote

"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 "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 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 Statesmanshow more

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 more

Table of contents

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

Rating details

66 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 27% (18)
4 26% (17)
3 38% (25)
2 9% (6)
1 0% (0)
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