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Journal Article

From Spheres of Civility to Public Spheres: Democracy and Citizenship in the Big House (Part II)

Randall Wright and Thom Gehring
Journal of Correctional Education (1974-)
Vol. 59, No. 4 (December 2008), pp. 322-338
https://www.jstor.org/stable/23282598
Page Count: 17
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From Spheres of Civility to Public Spheres: Democracy and Citizenship in the Big House (Part II)
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Abstract

Prisons are usually oppressive, bureaucratic, alienating places that sever or suspend the prisoner's sense of community and restrict the possibility (or desire) for social and civic participation. They produce a nihilistic culture that encourages a numbing detachment from others. How is it that we can speak of democracy in places such as these? Prison schools play an important role as they are often spheres of civility—social and psychological spaces constituted by restorative communicative and educational practices that build the prisoner's relations with self, others and the community, and building social capital, which has implications for citizenship. A conceptual framework is proposed that focuses on ethical communication practices, and enables teachers to reflect upon the social and ethical dimensions of their practice.