- Series: Studies Rhetoric & Communicati
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: University Alabama Press; New edition edition (January 8, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081735333X
- ISBN-13: 978-0817353339
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,395,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cultural Prison: Discourse, Prisoners, and Punishment (Studies Rhetoric & Communicati) New edition Edition
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From the Back Cover
This book offers a comprehensive critical study of popular cultural representations of prisoners from 1950 to the present. Rather than attempting to explain the causes of crime or the actual conditions of prisons, or providing prescriptions for criminal justice policies, the author describes how prisoners and punishment have been represented in popular discourse, most notably along the lines of race and gender. The readings from the period 1950-59 represent the male prisoner as humorous, patriotic, Caucasian, and hapless. Both male and female prisoners are represented as having altruistic motives and as desiring a reunion with the culture previously shunned. During the period 1960-68, the failure of rehabilitation programs and a renewal of prison riots are cited as evidence for often competing depictions of the male prisoner. Representation of the altruistic Caucasian continues, but a different sort of prisoner also emerges, one who becomes "African-Americanized", while seen as increasingly violent. Another split in the dominant representations of the male prisoner emerges during the period 1969-75. In the readings, although the white male prisoner remains forever open for rehabilitation and reunion, the other male prisoner divides into complex characterizations - both violent and both depicted as African-American. Weighted by the depictions of the past and plagued by economic and political events that increase the number of prisoners, the period 1975 to the present is depicted as a complex time when the public has adopted the concept of "just deserts" for prisoners and when the "willing" prisoner has emerged. The "cultural prison" refers to the way in which this study acts as aninvestigation of "the discipline of discipline"; it is a study of the way in which discipline is shaped and formed in public discourse. The volume concludes with a fascinating account of the move to electronic means of surveillance, and coupled with the representations of the prisoner along the lines of race and gender, its explains what these new techniques mean to contemporary culture.
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