Cutting Knowledge: The Pathologization of Self-Injury in Correctional Discourse

It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. Download adobe Acrobat or click here to download the PDF file.

Click here to download the PDF file.


Rotenberg, Cristine Raquel




This thesis critically examines correctional discourse on prisoner self-injury produced by the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Research Branch between 1990 and 2012. Grounded in the extant clinical and correctional discourse that has historically constructed self-injury as practiced by manipulative, violent and/or suicidal prisoners, through a discourse analysis this thesis identifies that a new surge of research published since 2010 demonstrates a shift to predominately pathological explanations that aim to reduce the deviant behaviour to the manifestation of a mental illness. This
domination of the ‘psy-sciences’ as ‘intellectual technologies’ (Rose, 1990, 1996b) bars sociological or otherwise non-psy understandings of self-injury, while political accountabilities result in the displacement of responsibility for self-injury from the prison to prisoners’ mental illness. It is argued that irrespective of methodological approach (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods), the CSC’s conceptualization of prisoners who engage in self-injury was pre-determined by their ideological alignment with the psy-sciences.


SOCIAL SCIENCES Sociology - Criminology and Penology
SOCIAL SCIENCES Sociology - General
SOCIAL SCIENCES Sociology - Theory and Methods




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 


Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

Items in CURVE are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. They are made available with permission from the author(s).