Inside Oz: Hyperviolence, Race and Class Nightmares, and the Engrossing Spectacle of Terror

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Abstract:

In this essay I analyze the HBO prison drama Oz as a cultural artifact of the current era of rampant incarceration. I argue that Oz's hyperviolent spectacle legitimizes both the expansion of the prison-industrial complex and the continuing prevalence of inhumane prison environments. I also contend that Oz's framing of race and class within a violent spectacle functions as a justification of discriminatory criminal justice practices.

Keywords: Hyperviolence; Prison-Industrial Complex; Race/Class Nexus; Representations of Incarceration; Spectacle

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420903049728

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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