Negotiating masculinity within prison

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary Kristen Hefner (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Saundra Westervelt

Abstract: The idea that prisons are particularly masculine environments is solidly grounded in current sociological literature. However, limited literature exists regarding the ways masculinity is negotiated within prison settings. Using James W. Messerschmidt's (1993) structured action theory, the current examination explores how male prison inmates situationally negotiate masculinity within these institutional milieus. Three research questions are posed. First, how does masculinity negotiation differ in maximum vs. minimum-security institutions and by race within and across these institutional settings? In addition, is prison violence used as a resource to negotiate masculinity within the prison setting and, if so, to what extent? Lastly, how do male inmates in single sex, long-term correctional facilities negotiate masculinity in the absence of women? Based on in-depth interviews conducted with fourteen male prison inmates in two North Carolina prisons, security level has a greater impact than race on the differential ways masculinity is negotiated in prison. However, when race does impact the ways masculinity is accomplished, it does so in significant and interesting ways.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Gender, Masculinity, Prison, Race
Imprisonment $x Sociological aspects.
Prison violence.

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