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Philosophy in prisons

Thursday 12 April 2018

Dr Kirstine Szifris of PERU today presented the findings from her PhD work at the British Sociological Association conference at Northumbria University.

She articulated how philosophy encouraged prisoners to listen to each other, develop empathy and can promote positive 'growth' identities.

Kirstine's research has been picked up by a range of news outlets including the Telegraph, the Times and BBC World Service (at 43 minutes in https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172w4k6mhggt9z).

Her work articulates the role of the social climate of a prison in shaping the experience of incarceration. She argues that this experience can have a clear impact on a prisoner’s identity, with a preoccupation with survival in a potentially dangerous environment, leading to the forming of hyper-masculine ‘survival’ identities. Instead, philosophy provides a space that could encourage the development of a future-oriented, positive, ‘growth’ identity.

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