1st Edition

The Rhetoric of Resistance to Prison Education How the "War on Crime" Became the "War on Criminals"

By Adam Key Copyright 2022
    106 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book explores the discourse and rhetoric that resists and opposes postsecondary prison education. Positioning prison college programs as the best method to truly reduce recidivism, the book shows how the public – and by extension politicians – remain largely opposed to public funding for these programs, and how prisoners face internal resistance from their fellow inmates when pursuing higher education.

    Utilizing methods including critical rhetorical history, media analysis, and autoethnography, the author explores and critiques the discourses which inhibit prison education. Cultural discourses, echoed through media portrayal of prisoners, produce criminals as both subhuman and always-already a threat to the public. This book highlights the history of rhetorical opposition to prison education; closely analyzes how convictism, prejudicial and discriminatory bias against prisoners, blocks education access and feeds the prison-industrial-complex an ever-recycled supply of free prison labor; and discusses the implications of prison education for understanding and contesting cultural discourses of criminality.

    This book will be an important reference for scholars, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates in the fields of Rhetoric, Criminal justice, and Sociology, as well as Media and Communication studies more generally, Politics, and Education studies.

    Preface;  1. The Prison Classroom;  2. Kids Before Cons?;  3. Shawshank Irredeemable;  4. Convictism;  5. The X On Your Back


    Adam Key is Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, USA. He spent most his early career teaching in Texas prisons. His research concerns the rhetorical, discursive, and mediated construction of deviance, particularly within the education system.