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Title: Forensic psychologists : vulnerable adjuncts of penal power
Author: Warr, Jason James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 0498
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the experiences of forensic psychologists who are employed within the contemporary prisons of England and Wales. It is concerned with their occupational morality and perspectives, their experiences of power, as well as the emotional impact of their prison work. Since 1992 there has been a fundamental increase in the demand for, and expansion of, psychological services within the prison system of England and Wales. In this period, they have become central to a pervasive and unchecked form of penal power. The expanded role, and subsequent power, of forensic psychologists has been noted by many penal commentators and researchers. However, much of this commentary has focused on the perspective of the prisoner or the nature and efficacy of their practices. This study is the first to provide a sociological and qualitative account of the practitioners themselves, and how they simultaneously occupy both a position of power and one of vulnerability. This thesis offers original insight into, and a novel contribution to, the extant literature in four ways: Firstly, it provides a typology of forensic psychologist values and professional perspectives for those employed within prisons; Secondly, it explores the occupational vicissitudes that this population face and how these variant moral positions result in differing ways of experiencing and coping with them. This extends the evidence on emotional labour and introduces the concept of emotive labour; Thirdly, it explains the realities of how these distinct 'types' both respond to the power of the establishments in which they work and the manner in which they wield their own professional power. It also highlights the notion of disciplinary capital and its relationship to psychological expertise and explains how these are fundamental elements of contemporary carceral power; and finally, it elucidates the manner in which the very gendered nature of a prison, and the cultures therein, can impact on female forensic psychologists and evoke particular armouring and avoidance coping strategies.
Supervisor: Grounds, Adrian ; Crewe, Ben Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Prison ; Power ; Emotional Labour ; Forensic Psychology ; Emotive Labour ; Disciplinary Capital ; Occupational Morality ; Vulnerability ; Forensic Psychologists ; Expertise