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This article discusses the methodological and ethical challenges of researching prison letters through a narrative approach. After giving insight into the work of the OLGa Collective and its archive of letters, I problematise the environment of prison spaces that shape inmates' subjectivities and then develop a discussion of the narrative approach by exploring the author's role as booklet editor and researcher, spanning activism and academia and his quest of speaking for others.
GH | Articles | Volume 76, issue 2
Geogr. Helv., 76, 289–297, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-76-289-2021

Special issue: Geographies of carcerality: explorations across securitization...

Geogr. Helv., 76, 289–297, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-76-289-2021

Standard article 01 Jul 2021

Standard article | 01 Jul 2021

“We are prisoners, not inmates”: prison letters as liminal counter-carceral spaces

Marco Nocente

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Cited articles

Abbot, J. H.: In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison, Random House, New York, https://doi.org/10.1176/ps.33.10.856, 1981. 
Abu-Jamal, M.: Live From Death Row, Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., Reading, Massachusetts, 1995. 
Alarid, L. F.: Sexual assault and coercion among incarcerated women prisoners: Excerpts from prison letters, Prison J., 80, 391–406, https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452229454.n10, 2000. 
Alcoff, L.: The Problem of Speaking for Others, in: Feminist Nightmares: Women at Odds: Feminism and the Problem of Sisterhood, edited by: Weisser, S. O. and Fleischner, J., New York University Press, New York, 285–309, 1994. 
Armstrong, S. and Jefferson, A.: Disavowing `the' prison, in: Carceral Spatiality: Dialogues Between Geography and Criminology, edited by: Moran, D., and Schliehe, A., Palgrave Macmillan, London, 237–269, https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56057-5, 2017. 
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Short summary
This article discusses the methodological and ethical challenges of researching prison letters through a narrative approach. After giving insight into the work of the OLGa Collective and its archive of letters, I problematise the environment of prison spaces that shape inmates' subjectivities and then develop a discussion of the narrative approach by exploring the author's role as booklet editor and researcher, spanning activism and academia and his quest of speaking for others.
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