Re/Constructing Black Masculinity in Prison

Nandi, M.
September 2002
Journal of Men's Studies;Fall2002, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p91
Academic Journal
The article presents a study that explored the ways in which incarcerated African-American males construct masculinities. It informs that qualitative research methods are employed, and narratives from 37 males currently confined to various state and federal institutions are examined. It further informs that attention is given to understanding the dynamics of prison culture, and numerous definitions of masculinity and manhood are discussed. It is discovered that males reconstruct normative versions of masculinity to concur with resources available to them. Such resources include the use of language, the negotiation of physical space, and a shift in thinking about oneself as a responsible citizen. This finding is examined within the African-American racial context of masculine identity construction, particularly in terms of the conceptual and behavioral mechanisms by which African-American males define theft manhood. It further describes that these men create specific versions of masculinity, because of their individual personalities or particular stage of development, but more likely because of their individual personalities or particular stages of development, but more likely because they live within communities that are marked by striking contrasts of power and powerlessness.


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