The Society of Captives, first published in 1958, is a classic of modern criminology and one of the most important books ever written about prison.
Gresham Sykes wrote the book at the height of the Cold War, motivated by the world's experience of fascism and communism to study the closest thing to a totalitarian system in American life: a maximum security prison. His analysis calls into question the extent to which prisons can succeed in their attempts to control every facet of life--or whether the strong bonds between prisoners make it impossible to run a prison without finding ways of "accommodating" the prisoners.
Re-released now with a new introduction by Bruce Western and a new epilogue by the author, The Society of Captives will continue to serve as an indispensable text for coming to terms with the nature of modern power.
About the Author
Gresham M. Sykes is Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many books, including Social Problems in America and Crime and Society, and the coauthor of Criminology.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Princeton Classic Edition ix
Chapter One: The Prison and Its Setting 3
Chapter Two: The Regime of the Custodians 13
Chapter Three: The Defects of Total Power 40
Chapter Four: The Pains of Imprisonment 63
Chapter Five: Argot Roles 84
Chapter Six: Crisis and Equilibrium 109
Chapter Seven: A Postscript for Reformers 130
Epilogue: The Structural-Functional Perspective
on Imprisonment 135
Appendix A: A Note on Method 147
Appendix B: The Routine of Imprisonment 149
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent. Anyone studying the prison system in the U.S. should read this.