The prison as a therapeutic music scene: Exploring musical identities in music therapy and everyday life in a prison setting [2018]

Whilst most research into music therapy with offenders focuses on music interventions in forensic mental health settings, less research exists into affordances of supporting musicking as an everyday practice in prisons. This article explores the prison as a music scene supported by a music therapist, showing how musicking forms an important part of the prison’s emotional geography. Through the presentation of findings from an ethnographic study of musical life in a low secure prison in Norway, the article shows how prisoners engage in music as a technology of self, affording the performance of caring and autonomous identities. We argue that supporting everyday musicking in the prison through music therapy fosters a therapeutic music scene, and that drawing on music as data in criminological research can contribute to more nuanced understandings of prisons.

Kjetil Hjørnevik, Leif Waage

Punishment & Society, August 23, 2018