Navigating Post-prison Life

Social Positioning in Unstable Circumstances

in Ethnologia Europaea
Barbara Sieferle University of Freiburg

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People that are released from prison experience life outside of prison as unpredictable and insecure. They are faced with stigmatization, poverty, and feelings of alienation from the “world outside”, which limit formerly incarcerated men’s opportunities for positive participation in social life. Based on research in the field of post-prison life, this paper asks how formerly incarcerated men act and position themselves – the techniques they use to navigate – within and around uncertain sociocultural circumstances that characterize post-prison life. The article argues that formerly incarcerated men are active agents who seek to escape their insecure, marginal social position by deploying techniques of social navigation.

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