‘Be a Man. Not a Bitch.’ Snitching, the Inmate Code and the Narrative Reconstruction of Masculinity in a Norwegian Prison
Men, Masculinities and the Criminological Field. I. Lander, N. Jon and S. Ravn (eds), Ashgate 2014, 57-70.
17 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 21, 2015
Many prisoners experience the everyday life on the wings as characterized by the various pains of imprisonment detailed by Sykes (1958). If one understands a prison as a gendered space, these pains may all be reconceptualized as masculinity challenges. Based on ethnographic field work in a Norwegian remand prison, I will explore a particular part of the so-called inmate code – the prohibition against snitching – and argue that this imperative may be seen as connected to more general cultural ideals of manhood. In this chapter, I will show how stories about snitching (and not snitching) are used by prisoners when they narratively reposition themselves as ‘real men’ within the emasculating and infantilizing context that is the prison.
Keywords: Masculinities, prison culture, snitching, inmate code, narrative criminology
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