Disciplining Freedom Treatment Dilemmas and Subjectivity at a Detention Home for Young Men
Sammanfattning: This ethnographic study explores treatment practices and staff-resident interaction at a detention home for young men, drawing on video recorded conversations and interviews. It investigates ideological dilemmas inherent in the institutional setting and how these produce complex subject positions to uptake, negotiate or refuse. Study I explores a core treatment dilemma: coercion vs. freedom, involving the dual institutional goal of coercing residents into norm abiding behavior and of producing individuals who behave "properly" out of their own free will. It focuses on staff members’ talk about token economy, illuminating rhetorical resources deployed to avoid the troubled subject position of a disciplinarian. Study II investigates disciplinary humor, illuminating how humor is used both to impose and disrupt social order. It shows how staff members and youths skillfully deploy humor in negotiating local hierarchies related to authority, generation, and age. Humor was also found to be a useful way of navigating ideological dilemmas. Study III explores behavior modification practices, focusing on how selfassessment practices can be conceptualized as responsibilization that emphasizes self-regulation. It documents the participants’ engagement in strategic deployment of specific subject position relations, “young boy”-caregiver rather than delinquent-disciplinarian. In brief, the thesis shows that subject positions are essentially co-constructed, and how positions related to age are highly relevant in this institutional setting. Paradoxical aspects of subject positions provide discursive resources that can be deployed to navigate ideological dilemmas such as that of coercion vs. freedom, but also to handle issues of authenticity.
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