Games Prisoners Play (häftad)
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Winner of Distinguished Book Award, European Academy of Sociology 2004
Princeton University Press
28 line illus. 4 tables.
234 x 156 x 12 mm
331 g
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49:B&W 6.14 x 9.21 in or 234 x 156 mm (Royal 8vo) Perfect Bound on White w/Gloss Lam
Games Prisoners Play (häftad)

Games Prisoners Play

The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison

Häftad Engelska, 2010-10-24
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On March 11, 1985, a van was pulled over in Warsaw for a routine traffic check that turned out to be anything but routine. Inside was Marek Kaminski, a Warsaw University student who also ran an underground press for Solidarity. The police discovered illegal books in the vehicle, and in a matter of hours five secret police escorted Kaminski to jail. A sociology and mathematics major one day, Kaminski was the next a political prisoner trying to adjust to a bizarre and dangerous new world. This remarkable book represents his attempts to understand that world. As a coping strategy until he won his freedom half a year later by faking serious illness, Kaminski took clandestine notes on prison subculture. Much later, he discovered the key to unlocking that culture--game theory. Prison first appeared an irrational world of unpredictable violence and arbitrary codes of conduct. But as Kaminski shows in riveting detail, prisoners, to survive and prosper, have to master strategic decision-making. A clever move can shorten a sentence; a bad decision can lead to rape, beating, or social isolation. Much of the confusion in interpreting prison behavior, he argues, arises from a failure to understand that inmates are driven not by pathological emotion but by predictable and rational calculations. Kaminski presents unsparing accounts of initiation rituals, secret codes, caste structures, prison sex, self-injuries, and of the humor that makes this brutal world more bearable. This is a work of unusual power, originality, and eloquence, with implications for understanding human behavior far beyond the walls of one Polish prison.
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Winner of the 2004 Distinguished Book Award, European Academy of Sociology "Written with refreshing directness--funny and horrible by turns--and complemented by delightful illustrations, Games Prisoners Play ... makes a highly original contribution to the literature on prisons. The book will also prove valuable for introducing game theory... There could be no better advertisement for rational choice."--Michael Biggs, American Journal of Sociology

Övrig information

Marek M. Kaminski is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Mathematical Behavioral Science at the University of California, Irvine. Between 1982 and 1989 he managed Solidaritys underground publishing house STOP.


List of Figures xi List of Tables xiii Acknowledgments xv Introduction 1 Chapter One Entry 16 Chapter Two The Constraints of Prison Life: An Overview 21 Material Constraints 22 Administrative Constraints 29 Subcultural Constraints: A Glimpse at the World of Grypsmen 34 Note on Importation versus Deprivation 37 Chapter Three Becoming a Grypsman 38 Initiation Tests 38 First Screening: Fag-Making and Baptism 41 Little Games 46 Hidden Tests 51 Prison University 54 Chapter Four Prison Code of Behavior 56 The Semi-Secret Code 58 The Secret Code 65 Sanctions and Intercaste Mobility 76 Chapter Five Argot 82 Argot Vocabulary 82 Argot Roles 85 Secret Argot Grammar 89 Language Games 95 Chapter Six Everyday Life 101 Random Walk through the Cell Archipelago 101 Information and Trade Markets 104 Coalitional Structures and Resource-Sharing 111 Arenas of Art and Entertainment 116 Fights and Exploitation 124 Chapter Seven Sex, Flirtation, Love 130 Masturbation 131 Fags 134 Women 138 Chapter Eight Strategic Ailment 145 Goals of Strategic Ailment 147 Techniques of Strategic Ailment 149 Cases of Self-Injury 155 Cases of Faking 163 Chapter Nine Exit 169 Postscriptum Variants and Evolution of Grypsmen Subculture 172 Local Variants and Modifications 172 The Evolution of Grypsmen Subculture 178 Appendix Prison Playground: Games and Decisions 183 Glossary Essential Argot 191 Notes 197 References 205 Index 209