Stearns on More Than Meals: A Narrative Criminological Analysis of Inmate-Authored Cookbooks @ULLLafayette

A. E. Stearns, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has published More than Meals: A Narrative Criminological Analysis of Inmate‐Authored Cookbooks at 59 The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice 65 (2020). Here is the abstract.

Cookbooks are cultural artifacts, providing glimpses into the ways in which a society views itself. Cookbooks of incarcerated individuals are notably absent from the landscape of scholarly work, although the genre can tell us much about a largely invisible segment of society. Using a narrative criminology approach, this project situates inmate‐authored cookbooks as narrative and examines 13 inmate‐authored cookbooks to determine how the structural elements of these narratives establish (or fail to establish) links with wider, mainstream society. Results suggest that the majority of inmate‐authored cookbooks employ narrative structures and strategies that engage with outside society by challenging the nature of ‘otherness’. Only a few cookbooks utilise such strategies as inside humour or violent narratives to mark the boundaries of prison culture. Findings help to extend the theoretical usefulness of narrative criminology, broaden and deepen our understanding of the prison experience, and establish the prison cookbook as a valid form of narrative.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.