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Title: Exploring the dynamics of defiance : the punishment narratives of young men in prison in Northern Ireland
Author: Devlin, Roisin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 6603
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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In an analysis of the personal narratives of 32 young male prisoners, this study explores how those at the sharp end of the criminal justice system perceive the punishment process. In particular, the research seeks to understand the psychosocial dynamics underpinning "defiant" or hostile reactions to criminal sanctions. Qualitative analyses of the young men's narratives of police and court sanctions reveal that defiant views are driven primarily by perceptions of disrespect and a sense of being treated without due 'humanity' by agents of the justice system. Expressions of defiance are also related to perceptions of having been purposely humiliated by officers or treated as "suspicious" even when avoiding criminal behaviour. A lack of "voice" in the courtroom appeared to fuel defiance too. As such, judges and magistrates who fail to meaningfully engage with sanctioned persons risk communicating a lack of care and disinterest in determinations to do better. As not all of the young men's narratives could be classified as "defiant" in tone, the internal dynamics of the 'less defiant' are also analysed. These contrasting narratives are used to better understand the possible roots of defiance in sample participants' life stories. In this analysis, non-defiance is most often associated with a sense of belonging both at home and within one's community. By contrast, defiant self-narratives more often included accounts of serious childhood abuse and punitive treatment, within and outside the home, indicating that messages of disrespect and inhumanity associated with these early life experiences may be reinforced by the style of criminal sanction delivery.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available