© 2020

The Palgrave Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Culture

  • Marcus Harmes
  • Meredith Harmes
  • Barbara Harmes

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxi
  2. Marcus Harmes, Barbara Harmes, Meredith Harmes
    Pages 1-15
  3. James C. Oleson
    Pages 17-29
  4. Voices from Within

  5. Constructions of Prisons and Prisoners: Media and Fictions

  6. Empathy and Injustice Framed in the Media

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 263-263
    2. Katrina Clifford, Rob White
      Pages 265-287

About this book


The Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Culture will be an essential reference point, providing international coverage and thematic richness. The chapters examine the real and imagined spaces of the prison and, perhaps more importantly, dwell in the uncertain space between them. The modern fixation with ‘seeing inside’ prison from the outside has prompted a proliferation of media visions of incarceration, from high-minded and worthy to voyeuristic and unrealistic. In this handbook, the editors bring together a huge breadth of disparate issues including women in prison, the view from ‘inside’, prisons as a source of entertainment, the real worlds of prison, and issues of race and gender. The handbook will inform students and lecturers of media, film, popular culture, gender, and cultural studies, as well as scholars of criminology and justice.


Incarceration Popular Media Imprisonment Power Film Studies Television Studies Race Gender Punishment

Editors and affiliations

  • Marcus Harmes
    • 1
  • Meredith Harmes
    • 2
  • Barbara Harmes
    • 3
  1. 1.Open Access CollegeUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.Open Access CollegeUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  3. 3.Open Access CollegeUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia

About the editors

Associate Professor Marcus K Harmes researches in British religious history and popular culture. His recent publications in the field of television studies include Roger Delgado: I am usually referred to as the Master (2017) and Doctor Who and the Art of Adaptation (2015). He is co-editor of Postgraduate Education in Higher Education (Springer, 2018).

Meredith A Harmes teaches communication and works in enabling programs and in legal criminal justice history at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Her research interests include modern British and Australian politics and popular culture in Britain and America. She is co-editor of Postgraduate Education in Higher Education (Springer, 2018).

Dr Barbara Harmes lectures at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Her doctoral research focussed on the discursive controls built around sexuality in late-nineteenth-century England. Her research interests include cultural studies and religion. She has published in areas including modern Australian politics, 1960s American television and  Victorian literature.  

Bibliographic information


“This fascinating and wide-ranging collection provides new insights into representations of, and our understanding of, carcerality. The chapters here force us to address cultural beliefs about the purposes and morality of different modes of incarceration, as well as illuminating the ways in which fantasies of imprisonment fuel innumerable depictions in film and TV. Impressive in both its breadth and depth it is an important contribution to the scholarly debate in this field.” (Dr Mark Readman, Principal Academic in Media Education, Bournemouth University)

“Media and film representations are powerful forces in contemporary society that deeply shape how people understand order and control. This Handbook features many compelling chapters on media and film representations of incarceration. The chapters examine how myths about imprisoned people are formed and perpetuated. An amazing roster of dedicated scholars and innovative thinkers contribute to this incredible work that will be a must-read for anyone doing research on media, representations, communications, imprisonment, punishment, and the carceral.” (Kevin Walby, University of Winnipeg)

“We see prisons everywhere – in documentary, drama, children’s fiction, ‘dark’ tourism. The editors and contributors of this Handbook have done an enormous service by engaging insightfully and comprehensively with this ubiquity. Anyone who wants to reckon with the hold of the prison on our contemporary cultural and political lives needs to engage with this ambitious and necessary book.” (Richard Sparks, University of Edinburgh)