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Demystifying the Big House

Demystifying the Big House

Exploring Prison Experience and Media Representations

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Edited by Katherine A. Foss

$38.00

Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
978-0-8093-3657-9
366 pages, 6 x 9
05/23/2018

Perspectives on Crime and Justice

 

Additional Materials

About the Book

Essays in this volume illustrate how shows such as Orange Is the New Black and Oz impact the public’s perception of crime rates, the criminal justice system, and imprisonment. Contributors look at prison wives on reality television series, portrayals of death row, breastfeeding while in prison, transgender prisoners, and black masculinity. They also examine the ways in which media messages ignore an individual’s struggle against an all too frequently biased system and instead dehumanize the incarcerated as violent and overwhelmingly masculine. Together these essays argue media reform is necessary for penal reform, proposing that more accurate media representations of prison life could improve public support for programs dealing with poverty, abuse, and drug addiction—factors that increase the likelihood of criminal activity and incarceration.
 
Scholars from cultural and critical studies, feminist studies, queer studies, African American studies, media studies, sociology, and psychology offer critical analysis of media depictions of prison, bridging the media’s portrayals of incarcerated lives with actual experiences and bringing to light forgotten voices in prison narratives.

Authors/Editors

Katherine A. Foss is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the author of Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses That Threaten Public Health and Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism
 

Reviews

“Foss brings together a wide range of perspectives and methodologies to examine one of the more enduring narratives in U.S. culture: that of prison life. Grounded in an interdisciplinary approach, this collection sheds light on how media representations often simplify or eclipse the reality of life behind bars, and it does so by including essays that both critique the representational in incisive ways and give voice to those who have been incarcerated.”—Ann M. Ciasullo, Gonzaga University

“Too often the public has profound misconceptions of what life in prison is really like, and the essays in this collection can help illuminate the distorted notions promulgated by television programs and Hollywood films.”—Bill Yousman, author of Prime-Time Prisons on U.S. TV: Representation of Incarceration

"Together, these essays argue media reform is necessary for penal reform, proposing that more accurate media representations of prison life could improve public support for programs dealing with poverty, abuse, and drug addiction--factors that increase the likelihood of criminal activity and incarceration."--James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review