Captured by the Media: Prison Discourse in Popular Culture

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Paul Mason
Willan, 2006 - 240 páginas
This book turns on the television, opens the newspaper, goes to the cinema and assesses how punishment is performed in media culture, investigating the regimes of penal representation and how they may contribute to a populist and punitive criminological imagination. It places media discourse in prisons firmly within the arena of penal policy and public opinion, suggesting that while Bad Girls, The Shawshank Redemption, internet jail cams, advertising and debates about televising executions continue to ebb and flow in contemporary culture, the persistence of this spectacle of punishment - its contested meaning and its politics of representation - demands investigation. Alongside chapters addressing the construction of popular images of prison and the death penalty in television and film, Captured by the Media also has contributions from prison reform groups and prison practitioners which discuss forms of media intervention in penal debate. This book provides a highly readable exploration of media discourse on prisons and punishment, and its relationship to public attitudes and government penal policy. At the same time it engages with the 'cultural turn' within criminology and offers an original contribution to discussion of the relationship between prison, public and the state. It will be essential reading for students in both media studies and criminology as well as practitioners and commentators in these fields.

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This book is concerned with how public opinion, punitivism, and the media come together. The various contributors provide an in-depth analysis of the ways in which media representations of prison influence perceptions of prison and punishment in popular culture. The authors come from a variety of backgrounds with some working in, with, and against the penal system and thus offer an interdiscipinary account of the prison-media nexus. Although this book does make a significant contribution to the debate over media representations of prison and punishment, it is, by no means, a vehicle for change, as it does not move beyond the obvious and long-standing argument of media misrepresentation.
Reviewed by: KARA BRISSON
 

Contenido

The function of fiction for a punitive public
16
Red tops populists and the irresistible rise of
31
a view from both sides of
48
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