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Journal Article

Teaching Sociology in Unconventional Settings: The Irony of Maximum Security Prisons

Jim Thomas
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 10, No. 2 (Jan., 1983), pp. 231-250
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1317114
Page Count: 20
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Teaching Sociology in Unconventional Settings: The Irony of Maximum Security Prisons
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Abstract

The social organization of unconventional teaching settings often creates problems that make delivery of educational programs especially difficult. But such settings may contain an ironic potential in that the problems they present may require solutions that allow participants to transcend the immediate conditions and create something quite new. Maximum security prisons typify an extreme example of an unconventional setting that subverts yet stimulates creative teaching strategies. By conceiving of teaching as a form of social praxis, it becomes possible to transform ostensible problems and conflict into pedagogical and practical advantages. This discussion will examine the social order in one maximum security prison and suggest how the ironic potential generated may be relevant to other unconventional settings.

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