Microhistory and the Modern Prison

  • Alyson Brown


The previous chapters of this study of the riot which broke out in Dartmoor Convict Prison on 24 January 1932 have concentrated upon differing perspectives on the same event. The chapters have examined the riot, the official responses to the riot, post-riot investigations and prosecutions, newspaper representations of the disturbance as well as the small group of men often cited as being the main cause of the trouble. In this chapter a more explicitly theoretical perspective is taken in that examination of selected aspects of the riot will be viewed through the lens of microhistory. Microhistory as a methodology legitimates a close-up, intimate angle of view in order to pose particular kinds of questions and obtain glimpses of interior life. The use of primary sources in this chapter is therefore quite narrow, since evidence may concern very minor incidences, but also broad, as examples straddle laterally across subjects and evidence covered in other chapters, thus offering a flexibility to explore opportunistically. The point is to examine further aspects of the riot and its aftermath and also to use this examination of the Dartmoor prison riot to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of using microhistory for a study of the prison.


Prison Staff Penal Policy Prison Life Escape Attempt Prison Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Alyson Brown 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alyson Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Edge Hill UniversityUK

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