Kate Herrity is the junior research fellow for punishment at Kings College, Cambridge. She completed her PhD in 2019 having gone back to school as a mature student for both her undergraduate and masters. Her doctoral research sought to understand the significance of the soundscape in a local men’s prison using aural ethnography. She is currently completing the monograph of her thesis, building on ideas laid out in the volume “Sensory penalties” edited with Bethany Schmidt and Jason Warr, which is accompanied by the blog she moderates: www.sensorycriminology.com A criminologist specializing in prisons, her interests focus on ideas and research methods which sit at the meeting points between fields and disciplines.
In to the prison: Sound, space and violence
Prisons are places of stark power relationships, echoed in the particularity of their soundscapes. I want to take you into some of the prison spaces I have spent time in, as a means of exploring the relationship between sound, space and harm. I will draw on prisoner accounts as well as my own fieldnotes from research to describe how these spaces are heard, felt and experienced before briefly introducing my particular research projects. I will invite you to consider the different ways in which we can understand the soundscape and what this can tell us about social life in particular spaces. If sound can be ‘felt’ as well as ‘heard’, can it be experienced as harmful, violent even? And if we accept this, what implications does that have for how we understand the role of particular spaces in social life, and the harms that can result from neglecting this aspect of experience as we imagine and construct them?
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