Embodied masculinities and bodywork within two British prison gyms

Matthew Maycock (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    65 Downloads (Pure)


    Prison masculinities are evolving in a plurality of ways that have profound implications for embodied masculinities within prison. However, previous literature has tended to overlook the importance of prison gyms as cites of particular kinds of bodywork within prison, something this paper seeks to address. Using interview data collected from two high-security men's prisons in Britain, this paper examines accounts of the sorts of bodies that prisoners aspire to achieve. This paper considers the ways in which the prison context shapes both the ‘looking’ and the ‘doing’ of male prisoners’ bodies. It also considers the ways in which specific manifestations of bodywork and associated performances of certain embodied masculinities constitute agency and potential resistance to the prison regime. Finally, this paper examines the ways in which context-specific constructs of ‘looking good’ constitute an expression of agency and potentially a form of resistance and/or compliance with prison regimes. Ultimately, there emerge diverse sites of tension in the ways in which masculinities and bodies interact within the prisons and prison gyms in particular that are the focus of this study.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages18
    JournalNORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies
    Early online date28 Feb 2022
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2022


    • Prison
    • agency
    • bodies
    • bodywork
    • embodiment
    • gender
    • jail
    • masculinities

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gender Studies


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