Narrative Convictions, Conviction Narratives: The Prospects of Convict Criminology

The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology

ISBN: 978-1-78769-006-6, eISBN: 978-1-78769-005-9

Publication date: 7 October 2019


Drawing inspiration from C Wright Mills exhortation to sociologists to locate themselves and their experiences in the ‘trends of their epoch’, I consider how first-hand experience of imprisonment can help criminology account for the growing trend towards the use of imprisonment in many Western democracies. Using interviews with a small group of British criminologists who have experience of imprisonment, I explore the connections between personal stories and collective narratives. Drawing reflexively from my own imprisonment, my subsequent professional trajectory and experiences of prison research, I consider the difficulties and potential of crafting a collective criminological project from disparate and profoundly personal experiences of imprisonment. The chapter combines methodological reflections on the use of autoethnography, autobiography and vignettes as a means to an end: establishing collective narratives from personal stories. I argue that the task of connecting these narratives to the ‘trends of the epoch’ that manifest in expanding prison populations is difficult but developing some momentum in convict criminology.



(2019), "Narrative Convictions, Conviction Narratives: The Prospects of Convict Criminology", Earle, R., Fleetwood, J., Presser, L., Sandberg, S. and Ugelvik, T. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 63-83.

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Copyright © 2019 Rod Earle

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