The prison as a reinventive institution
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Crewe, B., & Ievins, A. (2020). The prison as a reinventive institution. Theoretical Criminology, 24 (4), 568-589. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480619841900
There is plentiful evidence that imprisonment is painful, harmful and criminogenic. However, alongside accounts that emphasise such consequences are alternative narratives, in which some prisoners claim that carceral confinement has been a positive intervention in their life. Drawing on Scott’s (2011) idea of the reinventive institution, this article explores these narratives, which – contra Goffman (1961) – involve a voluntaristic commitment to the prison, active engagement in the process of identity reconstruction, normative alignment with institutional values, and the role of lateral regulation in shaping the prisoner’s new self. Our analysis emphasises the impact of the prison as an institutional form, and the ways that, in interaction with particular biographical experiences, it produces narratives of reinvention which imply an inversion of its normal destructive processes. Our argument is not a defence of imprisonment, but an attempt to theorise a narrative claim that, although expressed by a minority of prisoners, merits proper analysis.
ECH2020 EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL (ERC) (648691)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480619841900
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/292625
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