Punishment and pleasure: women, food and the imprisoned body
Food assumes enormous importance in prison: for many prisoners it conditions their life in custody and, in many respects, is symbolic of the prison experience. This article explores the complex relationship between gender, food and imprisonment through an analysis of data obtained from in-depth interviews and group discussions conducted in three women's prisons in England. The findings indicate that, in prison, where control is taken away as the prisoner and her body become the objects of external forces, food is experienced not only as part of the disciplinary machinery, but also as a powerful source of pleasure, resistance and rebellion. The implications of such findings for health promotion in the prison context are discussed. Here, the pleasures and consolations of food may well constitute a redefinition of what it is to be healthy in this context, one that challenges the dominant meaning constructed in current health promotional discourse.
The Sociological Review