Horizontal Surveillance and the Gendering of Carceral Punishment
Abstract: Research traditionally suggests that men incarcerated in the U.S. regard horizontal surveillance—i.e., monitoring the behaviors of other prisoners—as antithetical to notions of masculinity behind bars. Yet, following an 18-month ethnography in a U.S. prison for men, I detail how working prisoners in fact sought out peer surveillants who had the power to grant referrals to desirable jobs. Within prison worksites, individuals further policed peers’ production and service quality. Labor-based horizontal surveillance was in fact integral to performances of masculinity related to employment status and work ethic. This reveals ways that supervision maps on to gendered beliefs about work, offending, and contemporary American corrections, contributing to carceral agendas and broader systems of control.
Bio: Michael Gibson-Light is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Denver. He specializes in the study of punishment, work, and culture. Using qualitative research methods, he seeks to better understand the often-obscured lives and labors of working prisoners. He accomplishes this through ethnographic observations, interviews, and historical and archival analyses.
Meeting ID: 884 4973 8607