© 2004

Prison Discourse

Language as a Means of Control and Resistance

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Andrea Mayr
    Pages 1-23
  3. Andrea Mayr
    Pages 179-187
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 188-257

About this book


With unique and powerful data from within a big city prison, this book clarifies the role that conversational analysis can have within a Critical Discourse Analysis perspective. In a detailed linguistic analysis of the language use of prison officers and prisoners involved in a prison based course, the author charts the shifting power relations of control and resistance and situates the findings in a broader sociological analysis of the prison as an institution. The study will interest sociolinguists, discourse analysts, and researchers in communication studies, criminology and counselling.


bibliography communication communication studies criminology discourse discourse analysis interaction language Linguistic Analysis logical analysis resistance social control

About the authors

ANDREA MAYR is a Lecturer in the Department of German Language and Literature at Glasgow University.

Bibliographic information


'An important contribution to interactional studies, Prison Discourse demonstrates thorough and enlightening ways of interpreting the social control in prisons. Andrea Mayr closely examines written texts and classroom discussions, noting the word choices, phrase selections, modalities, and interactive moves among inmates and officers.' - Patricia E. O'Connor, Associate Professor, Georgetown University

'I recommend this well-written and well-researched book wholeheartedly to anyone interested in detailed lingustic analysis in any setting but its chief accomplishment must lie in the way it has penetrated to the heart of power relations in prison, that strange, total institution so hidden from us...It is additionally so rich methodologically that I hope it will find a place on research methods possesses both rigour and imagination.' - Diana Medlicott, Speech, Language and the Law

'This [is an] interesting and innovative excellent source of data and a good attempt to take a linguistic analysis into a place where there has been much sociological theorising.' - Michelle Aldridge, British Association for Applied Linguistics News