Been a Heavy Life: Stories of Violent Men

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University of Illinois Press, Aug 22, 2008 - Social Science - 183 pages
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In this groundbreaking work, Lois Presser investigates the life stories of men who have perpetrated violence. She applies insights from across the academy to in-depth interviews with men who shared their accounts of how they became the people we most fear--those who rape, murder, assault, and rob, often repeatedly. Been a Heavy Life provides the discipline of criminology with two crucial frameworks: one for critically evaluating the construction of offenders’ own stories, and one for grasping the cultural meta-narratives that legitimize violence. For social scientists generally, this book offers a vivid demonstration of just how dynamic and contingent self-narratives are.
 

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This may not be an easy read but it makes an important contribution to narrative criminolgical theory. It includes first person interviews with men who have committed fairly exteme acts of violence offering a careful, thoughtful understanding of how and why men justify their acts to themselves and others.  

Contents

1 Self and Story
1
2 Offender Identities Offender Narratives
15
3 Thinking about Research Effects
31
4 Research Methods When Research Is Being Researched
46
Return of the Good Self
62
Never a Bad Self
71
Creative Integration
97
8 Tales of Heroic Struggle
106
9 The Situated Construction of Narratives
123
10 The Power of Stories
145
Notes
157
References
161
Index
179
back cover
187
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About the author (2008)

Lois Presser is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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