Dining in: The Symbolic Power of Food in Prison

13 Pages Posted: 30 May 2006


Just as food plays an important symbolic role in greater society, eating inside a prison is imbued with a great amount of power and significance. Consumption is a constantly recurring aspect of institutional life and, therefore, by examining this ubiquitous act, a researcher can access a subtle, nuanced account of how power operates within the prison apparatus. By drawing on examples from interviews with prisoners about the prison food experience, this article will work to make visible the centrality of prisoner resistance to these power dynamics. In addition, this examination of prison food will support current analyses in the criminological literature by developing an increased understanding of the prisoner as both agent and subject, while highlighting the moral dimensions of penal practice.

Suggested Citation

Godderis, Rebecca, Dining in: The Symbolic Power of Food in Prison. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 255-267, July 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=904872 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2311.2006.00420.x

Rebecca Godderis (Contact Author)

University of Calgary ( email )

Graduate Studies
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

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