The Body, The Self: How Women Ex-Offenders in a Re-Entry Program Negotiate Gendered, Embodied Identities, and the Implications for Desistance
Existing scholarship posits that gender is socially constructed, with meanings attributed to bodies that signify conventions of masculinity and femininity. Such embodied constructs are integral to self and identity, though these meanings can be negotiated and fluid. Recent criminological work has found that changes in identity are essential to desisting from crime and that desistance processes are gendered. Yet little extant literature has examined how gendered, embodied identities play a role in the lived experiences of women who offend as well as their efforts to desist from crime. This exploratory study aims to address this dearth. In-depth interviews with women ex-offenders in a re-entry program reveal two central constructions of gendered, embodied identity that framed the women’s descriptions of their lived experiences before and during their incarceration: sexualization and pathologization. These meanings played a role in participants’ efforts to desist from crime, contributing new dimensions of understanding about this topic.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Wesely, J. K. (2021) The Body, The Self: How Women Ex-Offenders in a Re-Entry Program Negotiate Gendered, Embodied Identities, and the Implications for Desistance. Sociological Inquiry, 10.1111/soin.12429.