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Prison Cultures

Performance, Resistance, Desire

Prison Cultures offers the first systematic examination of women in prison and performances in and of the institution. Using a feminist approach to reach beyond tropes of “bad girls” and simplistic inside vs. outside dynamics, it examines how cultural products can perpetuate or disrupt hegemonic understandings of the world of prisons. Focusing primarily on the UK and using examples from pop cultures, the book identifies how and why prison functions as a fixed field and postulates new ways of viewing performances in and of prison that trouble the institution. A new contribution to the fields of feminist cultural criticism and prison studies, Aylwyn Walsh explores how the development of a theory of resistance and desire is central to the understanding of women’s incarceration. It problematizes the prevalence of purely literary analysis or case studies that proffer particular models of arts practice as transformative of offending behavior.

300 pages | 9 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9 3/4

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"Walsh's book doesn't disappoint. . . . Prison Cultures provides an incredibly rich, detailed, and complex performance analysis of women's prisons and imprisonment, and develops an argument for performance as a tool for resistance in carceral settings. . . . [It] shifts the prison theatre discourse in new directions, shunning the typical arguments around efficacy and impact in favour of striking new ground. The book is an ideal source for researchers interested in theatre and performance in the criminal justice system, and for those with a keen interest in penology, cultural and feminist criminology. The provocations presented to the applied theatre in the criminal justice sector should also serve to make this a valuable resource to those studying, and practising, prison theatre."

New Theatre Quartely

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