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Dance in ChainsImprisonment in the Modern World$
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Padraic Kenney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375745

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375745.001.0001

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“Everyone Learned Prison”

“Everyone Learned Prison”

Becoming a Political Prisoner

Chapter:
(p.61) 3 “Everyone Learned Prison”
Source:
Dance in Chains
Author(s):

Padraic Kenney

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199375745.003.0004

Incarcerated for their politics, prisoners must still figure out what a political prisoner is and does. They do so through interactions with more experienced prisoners or by reading instructions prepared by their movement. They also follow models available to them in literature or in popular legend; Nelson Mandela is one such model as are the IRA men in Long Kesh. Prisoners developed a political group identity by defining themselves against the criminals with whom they often shared cells and prisons, and against the guards. Key examples include interactions on Robben Island and in the camps of the Irish Civil War.

Keywords:   political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, Irish Republican Army, criminal prisoner, prison guard, Irish Civil War, Robben Island

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