Games Prisoners Play: The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison

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Princeton University Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 215 pages
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On March 11, 1985, a van was pulled over in Warsaw for a routine traffic check that turned out to be anything but routine. Inside was Marek Kaminski, a Warsaw University student who also ran an underground press for Solidarity. The police discovered illegal books in the vehicle, and in a matter of hours five secret police escorted Kaminski to jail. A sociology and mathematics major one day, Kaminski was the next a political prisoner trying to adjust to a bizarre and dangerous new world. This remarkable book represents his attempts to understand that world.

As a coping strategy until he won his freedom half a year later by faking serious illness, Kaminski took clandestine notes on prison subculture. Much later, he discovered the key to unlocking that culture--game theory. Prison first appeared an irrational world of unpredictable violence and arbitrary codes of conduct. But as Kaminski shows in riveting detail, prisoners, to survive and prosper, have to master strategic decision-making. A clever move can shorten a sentence; a bad decision can lead to rape, beating, or social isolation. Much of the confusion in interpreting prison behavior, he argues, arises from a failure to understand that inmates are driven not by pathological emotion but by predictable and rational calculations.

Kaminski presents unsparing accounts of initiation rituals, secret codes, caste structures, prison sex, self-injuries, and of the humor that makes this brutal world more bearable. This is a work of unusual power, originality, and eloquence, with implications for understanding human behavior far beyond the walls of one Polish prison.

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Games prisoners play: the tragicomic worlds of Polish prison

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Strict social hierarchy, intricate hidden tests and an elaborate verbal code are the stuff of everyday life for prisoners in the Polish prison that Kaminski profiles. Arrested as a political prisoner ... Read full review

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Sample Chapter for Kaminski, mm: Games Prisoners Play: The ...
Sample Chapter for Games Prisoners Play: The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison by Kaminski, MM, published by Princeton University Press.
press.princeton.edu/ chapters/ i7770.html

Punishment & Society
Games prisoners play: The tragicomic worlds of Polish prison, Marek M. Kaminski. Princeton, NJ & Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004. xvi + 215 pp. ...
pun.sagepub.com/ cgi/ reprint/ 8/ 4/ 490.pdf

Chicago Journals - American Journal of Sociology
Games Prisoners Play: The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison . By Marek M. Kaminski. Princeton, nj: Princeton University Press, 2004. Pp. xvi+215. $29.95. ...
www.journals.uchicago.edu/ cgi-bin/ resolve?AJS110608PDF

SIAM: Indefatigable Cost-Benefit Analysts, Immersed in and Endless ...
Games Prisoners Play: The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison. By Marek M. Kaminski, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2004, xvi + 207 pages ...
www.siam.org/ news/ news.php?id=58

Trainwise
GAMES PRISONERS PLAY: THE TRAGICOMIC WORLDS OF POLISH PRISON by Marek M. Kaminski, [Mar. 27th, 2008|03:28 pm]. [, Tags, |, books, ] ...
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CEJSH Publication information
Authors: Kaminski mm. Title: Games Prisoners Play. Allocation of Social Roles in a Total Institution. Source: Studia Socjologiczne (Sociological Studies) ...
cejsh.icm.edu.pl/ cejsh/ cgi-bin/ getdoc.cgi?04PLAAAA0007189

AUTHORS, ETC. Angell, Roger: Game Time: A Baseball Companion ...
Games Prisoners Play: The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison: Kaminski,. Marek M.: reviewed by Gravelle, Jane G., Vol. 51, No. 9, Oct. 2004, ...
www.fedbar.org/ TFL%2004%20index.pdf

Rationality and Society, 2003; 15 (2)
Sumario. Título / Autor(es), Página(s). Solving the Puzzle of Prosociality / Gintis, Herbert, 155-187. Games Prisoners Play: Allocation of Social Roles in a ...
www.ucm.es/ BUCM/ compludoc/ W/ 10306/ 10434631_1.htm

About the author (2004)

Marek M. Kaminski is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Mathematical Behavioral Science at the University of California, Irvine. Between 1982 and 1989 he managed Solidarity's underground publishing house STOP.

Bibliographic information