Whose Side are We on? Theory, Practice and Allegiances in Prisons Research

Posted: 16 Jul 2008  

Alison Liebling

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

This article reflects on sympathy and the problem of taking sides in research. It is impossible to be neutral, but is it possible to take more than one side? How far is our research distorted, and how far is it strengthened by forming a sympathetic understanding of those we study? What is the relationship between values and social science and how political are our choices about methods and perspectives? These age-old arguments are revisited in a contemporary context in which the superordinates as well as the subordinates feature in the author's research. The article asks whether synthesis is possible or desirable. These questions have important implications for researchers, but they also have significant consequences for the researched.

Suggested Citation

Liebling, Alison, Whose Side are We on? Theory, Practice and Allegiances in Prisons Research ( 2001). British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 41, Issue 3, pp. 472-484, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1160709

Alison Liebling (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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