Men behind bars: 'doing' masculinity as an adaptation to imprisonment

Jewkes, Yvonne (2005). Men behind bars: 'doing' masculinity as an adaptation to imprisonment. Men and Masculinities, 8(1) pp. 44–63.



This article, which is part of a wider ethnographic study of constructions of self in the mediated world of men’s prisons, explores "manliness" as the prison coping strategy par excellence. That masculinity is likely to become more extreme in men’s prisons is unsurprising, but the origins and nature of the "hypermasculine" culture and the precise means by which hierarchies of domination are created and maintained have yet to be thoroughly explored. Indeed, although men constitute the vast majority of prisoners worldwide, most studies treat the gender of their subjects as incidental and assume that in men’s prisons, the normal rules of patriarchy do not apply. However, as this article demonstrates, the notion of patriarchy, although in need of refinement, is not irrelevant to the predominantly male environment, and it is now widely accepted that men can be its victims as well as its perpetrators.

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