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Incarcerated Interactions

A Theory-Driven Analysis of Applied Prison Communication

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Edited By Erik D. Fritsvold and Jonathan M. Bowman

Incarcerated Interactions: A Theory-Driven Analysis of Applied Prison Communication is an innovative, applied edited book that uses core interdisciplinary social science theories to analyze and describe the social psychology and sociology of communicative interactions amongst incarcerated individuals. Beginning with the fundamentals of human interactions, this edited volume allows scholars across a variety of disciplines (such as criminology, sociology, communication studies, social psychology, anthropology, and economics) to become familiar with and apply the core principles and the requisite terminology of human communication within a criminological context. Each of the four sections of the text not only build upon the knowledge structures of previous chapters, but also function as stand-alone analyses and/or applications of extant scholarship within essential contexts. From a general discussion of core social science theory to the specific application of that theory in a range of scholarly contexts, this book addresses relevant issues such as mental illness and wellness, the gendered experience of inmates, recidivism rates, violence, the criminogenic effect of incarceration and the large-scale implications of prison gangs and their associated cultural influence, to name a few.

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10. The Instrument of Ink: Tattoos, Power, & Identity Displays : Melissa Andruzzi

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10. The Instrument of Ink: Tattoos, Power, & Identity Displays

MELISSA ANDRUZZI

Human skin undeniably has countless physiological functions, but a role perhaps given insufficient attention is its role “as a locus of interpersonal communication” (Palermo, 2004). An individual’s superficial bodily modifications are an important component of nonverbal communication, and one specific alteration that can yield much meaning is the act of tattooing oneself. Tattoos and the physical process of their inscriptions are surrounded with personal and cultural implications. In fact, as Atkinson (2009) argues, “one must not divorce the tattooed body from larger cultural contexts” (p. 131). This logic is extensively exemplified within the prison environment, as roughly 35% of any given prison population have tattoos for some culturally-influenced reason (Rozycki-Lozano, Morgan, Murray, & Varghese, 2010). The ways in which inmates use their tattoos to convey meaning vary on an individual basis; some use them as an expression of identity, others use them as an emotional outlet in an environment that restricts such emotion, while other inmates may use them as a way to exert independence and control. Some of these methods utilize tattoos as an abstract, yet simultaneously, tangible instruments of power. In the prison environment, tattoos are the manifestations of many forms of power- referent, empowerment, dominance, prevention- and act as a method of communicating power. So while the simplicity of ink may present tattoos as a trivial component of prison culture, considerable valuable insight into...

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