SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Ugelvik, T. (2012). Prisoners and their victims: Techniques of neutralization, techniques of the self. Ethnography, 13, 259–277.

Abstract: ‘Denial of the victim’ is one of the five classic techniques described by Sykes and Matza in their seminal work on techniques of neutralization. Based on ethnographic field work in a Norwegian remand prison, this article explores this particular technique as it is employed by prisoners in their narratives about how they came to be imprisoned. I will argue that this particular technique of neutralization, understood by Sykes and Matza as part of the etiology of crime, might fruitfully be re-conceptualized as a Foucauldian technique of the self tailored to the specific context of the prison. As both moral space and rehabilitation technology, a prison positions its prisoners as ‘immoral others’ who should confess and repent. This ascription of low morality may in fact be seen as one of the pains of imprisonment. Given this, victims represent problems for prisoners, as ‘having’ a victim equals being someone who has hurt another. I will show the narrative strategies prisoners employ when they reconstruct themselves as moral subjects in relation to their victims.

Journal Article 2: Bynum, E. G., & Weiner, R. I. (2002). Self-concept and violent delinquency in urban African-American adolescent males. Psychological Reports, 90, 477–486.

Abstract: African-American adolescent males experience a disproportionate rate of victimization associated with and arrest for violent crime. This study examined the relationship between self-concept and violent delinquency within a group of 155 urban African-American adolescent males. Walter Reckless’s 1967 containment theory, which suggests that a positive self-concept will insulate a juvenile from delinquency and crime, served as the theoretical frame of reference. The participants included 155 African-American males aged 13 to 19 years who completed the Adolescent Life Survey, developed by the investigators, and the Tennessee Self-concept Scale. Quantitative measurements of self-concept and delinquency were obtained. In general, the findings did not support containment theory. However, the study does present new data regarding serious violent delinquency.