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Turning Silence into Speech and Action: Prison Activism and the Pedagogy of Empowered Citizenship

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Based on almost 50 years of combined experience as prison activists and prison teachers, the authors offer three case studies of prison activism and pedagogy in action. The first case study, by Hartnett, details the “artistry of agency” as enacted in poetry workshops in prison and in public poetry events, thus illustrating artistic communication. The second, by Wood, examines how friendship becomes political in the epistolary communication between free and imprisoned correspondents, thus addressing interpersonal communication. The third, by McCann, addresses web-based communication as a tool for advocacy for condemned prisoner/activists on Texas’s death row, and hence political communication. Taken as a whole, the three case studies celebrate different communication strategies as avenues of enlightenment and empowerment while offering powerful arguments for abolishing the prison–industrial complex.

Keywords: Empowered Citizenship; Prison Activism; Prison Pedagogy; Prison–Industrial Complex; Social Justice

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

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