The Big House: Image and Reality of the American Prison

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Yale University Press, May 14, 2014 - HISTORY - 255 pages
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""The Big House" is America's idea of the prison - a huge, tough, ostentatiously oppressive pile of rock, bristling with rules and punishments, overwhelming in size and the intent to intimidate. Stephen Cox tells the story of the American prison - its politics, its sex, its violence, its inability to control itself - and its idealization in American popular culture. This book investigates both the popular images of prison and the realities behind them : problems of control and discipline, mainenance and reform, power and sexuality. It conveys an awareness of the limits of human and institutional power, and of the symbolic and iconic qualities the "Big House" has attained in America's understanding of itself"-- from book jacket.
 

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Contents

Touring the Institution
1
How to Build a Big House
16
Your Life as a Convict
45
The Art of Humiliation
62
Sex
80
Illustrations
98
You Built It Now Try to Run It
99
A Tale of Two Prisons
123
Rajahs and Reformers
136
Prisons You Cant Tear Down
155
Notes
185
Works Cited
203
Index
213
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Stephen Cox is Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of many books, including The New Testament and Literature and The Big House: Image and Reality of the American Prison.

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