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NCJ Number: 219527 Find in a Library
Title: Men Researching Men in Prison: The Challenges for Profeminist Research
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:46  Issue:3  Dated:July 2007  Pages:276-288
Author(s): Malcolm Cowburn
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 13
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article explores the practical issues involved with conducting research in male prisons from a profeminist standpoint.
Abstract: The main argument is that conducting profeminist research in male prisons is difficult due to prison masculinities and a sexist prison culture. As such, the best approach to maintaining a profeminist standpoint during the research process in male prisons is to “play it cool.” In making this argument, the author considers the role of the male researcher in engaging with prison masculinities and a sexist prison culture while attempting to maintain a profeminist standpoint. The author engaged in personal interviews with nine inmates, who relayed their life stories. The interviews were semi-structured and used life transitions as prompts for memories. The author also discusses the range of hostile attitudes and behaviors toward women expressed both by prisoners and prison staff. Indeed, it appears that the sexist harassment of women prison staff plays a central role in maintaining the dominance of men in prison. The author draws on a Goffman (1970) perspective to explain the various survival strategies adopted by new inmates in a total institution, such as a prison. Such strategies include situational withdrawal, colonization, and conversion. The author found he had to adopt a non-sexist attitude when confronted with overt sexism in order to complete the research project, which is a form of Goffman’s strategic withdrawal. This type of stance became particularly difficult when inmates would justify their crimes and accuse victims of being responsible for their (her) own abuse. However, directly confronting sexism within the prison may have terminated the research project due to the noncooperation of inmates who espoused sexist beliefs. Note, references
Main Term(s): Research design; Researcher subject relations
Index Term(s): Inmates as research subjects
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