From Spheres of Civility to Critical Public Spheres: Democracy and Citizenship in the Big House (Part I)

Wright, Randall; Gehring, Thom
September 2008
Journal of Correctional Education;Sep2008, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p244
Academic Journal
This paper introduces the concept of prison schools as spheres of civility where ethical forms of communication such as respect, politeness, reciprocity, and inclusiveness in teacher-student dialogue are examined-or recommended. Attention to these micro level communicative processes is considered foundational to democracy and the formation of critical public spheres. Some evidence from student dialogues, teacher interviews and policy documents is provided to illustrate these concepts. Further research into the communicative practices of prison teachers and the concept of prison schools as public spheres is recommended. This essay serves as part of a larger project to reconstruct democracy in prison/schools grounded in a discourse perspective.


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