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“It’s important to not lose myself” Beds, Carceral Design and Women’s Everyday Life within Prison Cells

Chapter in book
Authors Franz James
Published in Prison, Architecture and Humans
ISBN 978-82-02-52967-3
Publisher Cappelen Damm Akademisk
Place of publication Oslo
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Language en
Subject categories Design


This article reveals the prison bed’s carceral design and damage to the body. The bed, however, is also a place where “time flies” and where an ongoing negotiation with the self occurs. To gain further knowledge about how the physical environment in prison is experienced this article will present and discuss the narratives of three female inmates at a Scandinavian prison. These women’s narratives implicitly and explicitly express how corporal and psychological punishment is interwoven into the prison system through the design of the prison cell, its objects, and the system’s theoretical concept. By using the ethnographic design method ‘Sketch and Talk’, which employs text and visual documentation, these narratives uncover both a micro and macro picture of lived experience produced by the interior design of the prison cell. In the field of research on architecture and design the focus favors exterior expressions and planning of space. However, interior design and its objects such as beds, chairs and tables are experienced long-term by inmates in a close and intimate relationship, and therefore can be expected to have a greater impact. This article attempts to expose details and phenomena produced by interior design as well as the inmate’s production of space and its meaning. The article also suggests further areas of design that could mitigate the damage inflicted on inmates by prison cell design.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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