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Elizabeth Comack explores the complicated connections between masculinity and violence in the lives of men incarcerated at a provincial prison. Moving between the spaces of ‘out there’ and ‘in here,’ the discussion traces the men’s lives in terms of their efforts to ‘do’ masculinity and the place of violence in that undertaking. In drawing out these connections, similarities with the lives of other men become apparent. In the process, we also learn that prisons are not a solution to public concerns about crime and violence. Prison is a gendered space in which violence is a systemic feature and the pressures on men to ‘do’ masculinity are even more pronounced. Sending racialized and economically marginalized men to prison only encourages and reaffirms aggression, dominance and the exercise of brute power as legitimate social practices.
“A uniquely vivid and readable account of how masculinities and violence are constructed both in the community ‘out there’ and in prison, ‘in here.’ Drawing on life-history interviews of incarcerated men, Elizabeth Comack offers a fascinating analysis of the varying and interconnecting masculine and violent pathways by these men and how their changing and often contradictory social practices are related to local and regional hegemonic masculinities. Out There/In Here is a timely, scholarly and captivating contribution to the literature in criminology, masculinities, and gender studies–I highly recommend it!”
— James W. Messerschmidt, Professor of Sociology/Women and Gender Studies, University of Southern Maine