Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

I am deeply grateful to all of those who contributed to this project. I owe the greatest debt to the women and men I interviewed, who gave generously of their time and insight in helping an outsider to understand their work behind prison bars. ...

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1. Engendering the Prison

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pp. 1-21

Imagine a prison guard. Whom do you see? If you are like most people, the vision in your mind’s eye is probably that of a hulking man in uniform carrying a nightstick or even a gun. Perhaps you imagine him as brutal and sadistic; at the very least, you see someone...

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2. Penology in America: Men’s and Women’s Prisons as Gendered Projects

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pp. 22-50

Prisons are such a common feature of the American landscape that they have come to seem natural, indeed, inevitable. But prisons did not exist in the United States or in Europe until about two hundred years ago. During the colonial era and the early...

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3. From Turnkey to Officer: Prison Work in Historical Perspective

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pp. 51-77

From the earliest beginnings of the prison, the “keeper” has occupied an ambivalent position. Michel Foucault captures the paradox in his account of the late-eighteenth-century French debates over the establishment of the prison. A critic rejects the prison because...

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4. Paths to Prison

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pp. 78-105

Very few of us work in the occupations to which we aspired in childhood. As Williams (1995) observes, if we did, there would be many more cowboys, professional football players, superheroes (whether of the Xena or Superman variety), nurses, and ballet dancers. As this list suggests, occupational socialization is a thoroughly...

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5. Work with Inmates

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pp. 106-165

New officers are prepared, by stereotype and training, to expect the worst behavior from inmates. Almost to a person, correctional officers speak of being constantly fearful during their first days on the job that they will be unable to manage recalcitrant inmates, fall victim...

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6. The Rest of the Job: Coworkers, Supervisors, and Satisfaction

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pp. 166-215

The fact that inmates are an involuntary population is what defines the prison as a total institution, and it makes the job of the correctional officer nearly unique in the realm of occupations. Many other features place it squarely in the mainstream, however. ...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 216-226

This book is, first and foremost, a study of the prison as a gendered organization. The theoretical foundation upon which I draw, and on which I hope to have built, remains an interloper in the field of organization studies, which has preferred to view gender, race, class, and sexuality as individual traits of workers instead of as essential...

Methodological Appendix

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pp. 227-234

Notes

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pp. 235-243

References

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pp. 244-256

Index

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pp. 257-263

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About the Author

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p. 264

Dana M. Britton is Associate Professor of Sociology at Kansas State University. She received her B.A. in 1987 and M.A. in 1989 from the University of Oklahoma, and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995. She has published numerous essays on gender...