Miranda D (2017) Prisoners' photographic portraits and the construction of the criminal body. 45th Annual Conference of The European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, The University of the Aegean, Lesvos, Greece, 31.08.2017-03.09.2017. http://eknexa.aegean.gr/site/Abstract-Booklet-1.pdf
This presentation will explore current practices around photography of prisoners in the everyday contexts of the prison space. Drawing on a qualitative study conducted with prisoners, prison guards, and probation officers in 3 Portuguese prisons, we analyse how different social actors construct the criminal body. This construction is explored through the meanings attributed to photographic portraits of prisoners used for their identification. In particular, we consider the association of their photographic representations with the practices of using their face as a guide for seeking signs of criminality. We conclude that these visual representations, as a classification device, produce an embodied sense of identity and perpetuation of
stigma, materialising ugliness as a sign of criminality. We argue the criminal body is continuously co-constructed by individuals with very different social positionings in the prisons through a process that is
not only inextricably material-discursive but also considerably asymmetrical.