Shakespeare in Shackles: Pedagogical Experiment and Cultural Activity in a French Prison

Christine Evain, Delphine Saurier, Spencer Hawkridge


As cultural activities in prisons expand, institutions are recognizing the need for research on impact in order to optimize these activities. In this article, our team presents findings on a recent teaching experiment concerning literature workshops that brought together male inmates and university students over an 18-month period at the Centre de Détention de Nantes in France. Our qualitative approach explores an ethical question: What are our responsibilities towards all the parties involved in this teaching experiment? Two important and apparently conflicting findings come to the fore. First, the responsibility of teachers is to accompany the desires of students and inmates in their permanent negotiation with the apparatus itself. Second, workshop organizers need to reflect on their own responsibility concerning the way the workshop contributes to the institutionalization of the prison.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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