This article addresses the role of self-narratives for coping with the laws of captivity. By focusing on how confinement can disrupt narrative coherence, the intention is to examine the role of self-narratives for interpreting previous events and anticipating future actions. Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary research on self-identity, imprisonment, and offender narratives, this article highlights how narrative reconstruction can alter our desires, commitments, behavior, beliefs, and values. By (re)telling a story about our lives, it is possible to reinterpret existing circumstances and make new connections between our past, present, and future selves. Whereas research suggests the importance of narrative reconstruction for protecting against a sense of meaninglessness, this article shows how self-narratives have the potential to be empowering and divisive. The final part of the article examines how the narratives inmates construct about themselves and others can serve to legitimize violence against other prisoners.
Research Article| November 01 2018
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James Hardie-Bick; Identity, Imprisonment, and Narrative Configuration. New Criminal Law Review 1 November 2018; 21 (4): 567–591. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2018.21.4.567
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