Prisons, Performance Arena, and Occupational Humor


Correctional officers use occupational humor to communicate complex meanings. These messages are often essential to occupational and institutional well-being, yet are rarely studied. Occupational humor in correctional work takes place within a space that can be more productively understood through what has been described as the performance arena. This short study draws on the author’s own ethnographic research among white, Midwestern correctional officers and concludes with a brief performance-centered analysis of a joke collected by Ted Conover.

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