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Prisoners and Their Families Kate's seventh lecture of Winter Semester 2011: Prisoners and Their Families It includes... Key points on Goffman reading Sigma "Spoiled Identities" Master Status (Becker) Experiencing Stigma Embracing the "New You" Un

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University of Ottawa
Kate Fletcher

Paper Journal titles italisized and volume #, issue # in parentheses MAX 5 pages per question “Doing Time Together”: Prisoners and Their Families Megan ---- and ---- Codd Articles “Spoiled Identities” Goffman: ***stigma = “spoiled identity” An attribute that ppl have that is deeply discrediting And effectively taints them during their interactions with other ppl So a person with this attribute (spoiled identity) is reduced from the minds of other ppl from being someone that is whole to someone we’re able to discount Takes you from being seen as whole person to someone that is subsumed by that tainted aspect All other things that comprise you are ignored cuz the stigma becomes you Comes from: 1. Abominations of the body (ex. a physical deformity – something physical regarded negatively) 2. Blemishes of individ character (ex. being weak willed, dishonest) they’re inferred from things like being imprisoned, being addicted, being gay, being unemployed 3. Tribal stigmas: race, nation, religion, ethnicity – transmitted through lineage Stigmatized by others cuz you belong to a certain race Jews and gypsy’s – not in one spot but when they move around they stay in a tribal stigma Individs in an effort to avoid negative interactions will restrict themselves to interacting with other ppl that are stigmatized in a similar manner (they understand your social sitch) = actually reinforcing the stigmatized self-concept It becomes how you see yourself as well Recidivism – prisoner becomes who you are How Others See You Becomes Who You Are Becker: Master status (individs are judged by some quality/characteristic) – becomes your dominant characteristic (dominant identity) Ex. Doctor Overrides all other characteristics in perceived importance Ex. religious doctor but the fact that doctor is socially idolized, doctor becomes your master status May be stigmatized: if you’re a possible pedophile doctor, maybe you’re not guilty but you’ll still be known as a pedophile cuz it’s so adhesive Experiencing Stigma Interactive process: social label will obliterate other dimensions of your social identity as you’re interacting with others “A negatively valued aspect of an individ’s life comes to dominate It becomes who you are In diff periods of time and places, your stigma as a master status may mean more or less (ex. if with similarly stigmatized ppl than that’s no longer your master status) Embracing the “New You” To reasonably redevelop a positive identity, you may reorganize your life in a way that others consider to be deviant In attempt to see yourself as someone of value, in the eyes of other ppl, what you can end up doing is embracing the identity that others have given you (deviant/stigmatized) and interacting with ppl that are similarly cast in that light Psychological defense against negative labeling Attempt to recast one’s self-identity  embrace the deviant identity They “are”, therefore they “do”: if you continue to label someone in a certain way, they start to act in the way they’ve been labeled THIS IS ALL IN ATTEMPT TO ASSERT TO YOURSELF THAT YOU HAVE VALUE TO OTHERS (ex. the dumb loud ones all get together to assert to themselves that they do have an identity) Universal Factors of Prisonization Prisonization: process of being subsidized into the subculture How prisonized you are is judged by how easy it is for you to adjust to the outside world Clemmer: prisonization is similar to Americanization that certain immigrants will undergo Must learn the “rules” both formal and informal (inmate code) Everyone undergoes prisonization (to some extent) and engage in these factors to a certain extent: Acceptance of inferior role- when prisoners go into prison, all of them accept, to certain extent, their inferior role (Halsey = prisoner identity) and accept that they are dependent and weak and weakness comes to fact that you must be submissive to authority Accumulation of facts concerning organization of prison Prisoners realize they don’t “owe you anything” - learn they don’t need to do anything and their needs will be met (ex. will be fed, will receive medical attention) Develop’t of new habits Desiring of good job – there are perks to being good (ex. extra food) This is one aspect of how after a certain amount of time, activities and amenities begin to take on a new amount of importance Secondary Prisonization Megan Comfort: female partners of prisoners – they undergo secondary prisonization Because their loved ones are inside, they are in some way doing time Acculturation: adopt traits, lingo, change style of dress to accommodate prison regulations/rules; modify professional and personal schedules The prison is “creeping outside it’s walls” They recognize in doing this they will gain access to seeing their loved ones Rules change all the time, seem very arbitrary and you can’t really understand why their in place so it fuels ppls resentment These women exist on a boundary/tite rope – they’re assimilated into outside culture but at same time they’re being assimilated into prison culture Ambivalent status: existing in shadow of outside culture and prison culture Operating within physical space of prison (when they go for visits) but also trying to navigate symbolic space they live in (which is being discredited with the similar stigmatized individs) Physical space = getting in Symbolic space – affiliated with prisoners Blood relatives are already judged by others (family of prisoners – “how did she bring up him!?”) so imagine if they’re doing it by choice Resist all attempts by prison to control you Women attempt to hold on to aspects of they’re personhood (ex. clothing) in order to defend this self-identity as a free person Self-identification ascribed status (negative prisoner status) All of the processes in prison are attempts to depersonalize the individs cuz of they’re association with prisoners Quasi-inmates: women are characterized as such – not real inmates but as close as it gets Because their affiliation to the prisoners is personally “Legally free and palpably bound” Liminal identities: “being on a threshold” Liminal identity leads to uncertain identity and from this uncertainty comes the stigma we have for you “In between” space “Factories of Order” Tube: the “waiting area” – walled in area that’s built by prison to wait where to go Divides state property (outside area) and that of the prison “A funnel with door
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