Altering violent repertoires: Perspectives on violence in the prison-based cognitive-behavioural program Anger Management

Julie Laursen, Ann-Karina Eske Henriksen

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Based on ethnographic research in three Danish prisons, this article explores meanings of violence among prisoners, as they are narrated in the context of the prison-based cognitive-behavioral program Anger Management. The empirical data shows that the prisoners’ and instructors’ perspectives and understandings of violence diverge in significant ways. We find that these discrepancies result in disputes and misunderstandings, where prisoners’ experiences of violence are devalued and rendered illegitimate in a treatment context where violence is considered unacceptable and a result of faulty thinking. Drawing on anthropological theory on violence as contextual, trivialized, and embedded in narratives of self, we propose a framework that enables reflections on violence more attuned to the prisoners’ own narratives and reasoning. Such nuanced understandings of violence could provide more durable ways of altering violent repertoires.
TidsskriftJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Udgave nummerIssue 2
Sider (fra-til)261-286
Antal sider26
StatusUdgivet - 8 maj 2018