Male Republican Prisoners in Northern Ireland: Resistance, Emotions and Homosociality

Bill Rolston, Lawrence McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The literature on male imprisonment consistently reveals a particular form of hegemonic masculinity based on competition, dominance and violence, actual or threatened. This article seeks to examine this standard view via the experience of republican politically motivated prisoners in Northern Ireland. It finds evidence of elements of hegemonic masculinity as in other prisons, but alongside this there was an alternative form of hegemonic masculinity, one based on the ability to endure rather than inflict violence. The article also examines the way in which homosociality – male fraternity without homosexual desire – was an integral part of the prison experience and was enhanced by the solidarity among the prisoners; this solidarity was based on both initial political ideology and the collective resistance against the prison system’s attempts to break their solidarity. Finally, it also examines the space for emotions and emotional support in the difficult circumstances of violence inflicted by prison officers, an extended “blanket protest” and a harrowing hunger strike.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-285
JournalState Crime Journal
Volume6
Issue number2
Early online date1 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • political imprisonment
  • resistance
  • homosociality
  • Ireland
  • republicanis

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