Social Order in Prisons: Theoretical Issues

Richard Sparks, Anthony Bottoms and Will Hay

in Prisons and the Problem of Order

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780198258186
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681813 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Studies in Criminology

Social Order in Prisons: Theoretical Issues

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Sociologists have been interested with the exploration of the social aspects affected by imprisonment, the kind of life, behavioural patterns and mental processes experienced by people ‘behind the walls,’ and the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that can explain such confounding and unfathomable circumstance. Issues concerning the ‘problem of order’ are explored, specifically the realization of a ‘normal’ and orderly life under confinement, the possibility of the emergence of social affiliations inside the ‘society,’ the level by which prisoners geared toward violent tendencies, the inclination to cooperate with others, and the steps on reviving ‘order’ when ignored or threatened. While it is true that these researches contribute to the enlarging literatures about the ‘prison community,’ there is still the contention that the concept of order cannot be generalized, but should be studied using particular settings only.

Keywords: social life; imprisonment; problem of order; normal; cooperation; violence; prison community

Chapter.  26545 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal Law

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