Long sentenced young people are a small but significant part of the juvenile prison population. The current approach to young people convicted of serious crime speaks to wider issues in criminal and social justice, including the idealisation of (some) childhoods, processes of racialisation and identity and the sociology of the body. Analysing the relationships between biography, trauma and habitus reveals the ways in which class, racial and legal status are experienced and resisted.
Young Men's Experiences of Long-Term Imprisonment: Living Life considers the need for the reinvigoration of prison ethnography and calls for a phenomenological approach to understanding youth crime and punishment. An insightful ethnographic study on imprisoned 15- to 17-year-olds in England, this volume examines how young people experience long-term imprisonment, manage their time and imagine and shape their futures. Drawing on observations, interviews and correspondence, Tynan situates long-term imprisonment of young men within the wider social context of criminal and social justice; and analyses constructs and practices that locate responsibility for crime with individuals and communities.
Young Men's Experiences of Long-Term Imprisonment: Living Life will be of interest to students and researchers interested in the sociology of prisons, punishment and youth justice and qualitative research methodology.
1 ‘Be easy, see wagwan’: Introduction
The shape of the field
Crime, risk and harm
2 ‘My story’s boring’: Why young prisoners’ stories matter
The political economy of crime
Understanding prisons or understanding prisoners?
The fact of blackness and double consciousness
Shame and (symbolic) violence
Towards a phenomenology of long-term imprisonment.
3 ‘Real talk’: Methodology and reflections on fieldwork
Research as ‘passing’
Paper files and straw men
Ethics and safety
4 ‘Just gotta ride it’: Adaptation, survival and change
Life before Cypress
From the first day to everyday
The carceral habitus.
5 ‘That’s just their pen and ink’: Resisting the pains of imprisonment
Atmosphere, accessories and alienation
'It's just not a nice place to be'
Deprivation of corporeal experience
6 ‘Obviously, you can’t just back down…’ Violence and identity
‘Gangs’, groups and good old fashioned fighting
Place, space and keeping face
Violence and collective identity
Collectivism vs individualism
7 ‘Clothes, food and love…’: family, fatherhood and the limits of fratriarchy
Something in the way
‘It is what it is’: maintaining family ties
Fatehrs and fatherhood
Things fall apart
Allies, associates and alliances
8 ‘Jail’s not gonna do nothin’…at all’: Conclusion
Biography, habitus and trauma
The experience and resistance of imposed class, racial and legal status and prisonisation
Beyond the (purely) sociological imagination
Impelling the phenomenology of youth imprisonment
Ethnography is a celebrated, if contested, research methodology that offers unprecedented access to people's intimate lives, their often hidden social worlds and the meanings they attach to these. The intensity of ethnographic fieldwork often makes considerable personal and emotional demands on the researcher, while the final product is a vivid human document with personal resonance impossible to recreate by the application of any other social science methodology. This series aims to highlight the best, most innovative ethnographic work available from both new and established scholars.