A Cage of Days: Time and Temporal Experience in Prison

”A Cage of Days: Time and Temporal Experience in Prison” with Michael G. Flaherty, Ph.D. (Professor of Sociology at Eckerd College, USA & ICUB Visiting Prof.)

This event will take place on the 29th of May, at 6 p.m, Council Room, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work (Schitu Măgureanu. nr.9) , sector 5, Bucharest.

A temporal regime governs the operation of American correctional facilities. This temporal regime determines how inmates experience time and space in prison. Convicts have been “given” time (i.e., their sentences), but the temporal resources allocated for their various activities are quite limited. They are serving time, not deciding what to do with it. In addition, indeterminate sentences, the cyclical character of their schedule, and the cyclical pattern of recidivism combine to deprive prisoners of any future on the horizon.

Incarceration makes it self-defeating to count standard temporal units (i.e., hours and days), but, wanting to mark the passage of time, prisoners develop unique ways to structure their temporal experience. Moreover, inmates engage in various forms of “time work” (or temporal agency) in an effort to resist the temporal regime and exert some degree of self-control over their own experience of time.

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