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The Multicultural Prison
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The Multicultural Prison

Price: $121.00
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Published Nov 2012 (OUP)
ISBN: 9780199697229. Hard Cover, 272 pages.

Winner of the British Society of Criminology Prize 2013

The Multicultural Prison: Ethnicity, Masculinity, and Social Relations among Prisoners presents a unique sociological analysis of the daily negotiation of ethnic difference within the closed world of the male prison. Using rich empirical material drawn from extensive qualitative research in Rochester Young Offenders' Institution and Maidstone prison, the author presents vivid prisoner accounts from both white and minority ethnic participants, describing economically and socially marginalised lives outside. In turn, these stories provide a backdrop to the inside - the interior world of the prison where ethnicity still shapes social relations but in a contingent fashion. Addressing both the negotiation and tensions inherent in conducting such research, the central discussion evolves from a frank dialogue about ethnic, faith, and masculine identities, constituted through loose solidarities based on 'postcode identities', to a more startling comprehension of such divisions as, in some cases, a means for cultural hybridity in prison cultures. More commonly, though, these divisions act as a familiar fault line, creating wary, unstable, and antagonistic relations among prisoner 


  • Provides a first-hand account of life 'inside', through extensive observation and interviews with serving prisoners
  • Draws on the sociology of race and ethnicity, race and social policy, and links this to ethnic relations in a prison setting 
  • Includes rare discussion of how field researchers' identities and biographies impact on the collection and analysis of prisoner identity data 
  • Utilizes rich empirical material drawn from extensive qualitative research in Rochester Young Offenders' Institution and Maidstone prison 



1: Enduring Trialities, Globalization, and Prison Populations 

2: Racial Identities, Social Relations, and Prison Policies 

3: The Art of the Possible: Epistemological Turns and Counter-Turns 

4: Ethnic Identities, Faith, and the Dynamics of Multicultural Con- Viviality

5: From Boys to Men: Racialised Masculinities Inside

6: The Pains of Racism 

7: Conclusion 

Coretta Phillips is Senior Lecturer in the London School of Economics' Department of Social Policy. She has published extensively in the field of ethnicity, crime and criminal justice and served on the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology.

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