Doing Masculinity in Youth Institutions
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Doing Masculinity in Youth Institutions book
Prisoners experience the everyday life on the wings as characterized by the various pains of imprisonment detailed by Sykes. This chapter explores the inmate code, the prohibition against snitching, and argues that this imperative may be seen as connected to more general cultural ideals of manhood, based on ethnographic field work in a Norwegian remand prison. It shows how stories about snitching are used by prisoners when they narratively reposition themselves as 'real men' within the infantilizing context that is the prison. According to its codifiers Sykes and Messinger, the first rule of the inmate code, an informal yet highly influential set of subcultural norms governing everyday life in prisons, is that prisoners must not interfere with the interests of other prisoners. The chapter argues that an important side effect of the prohibition against snitching in the inmate code has to do with the gendered nature of the prison experience and important cultural presuppositions about gender difference in society.