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Dr Abigail Rowe

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Criminology
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Social Policy & Criminology
  • abigail.rowe

Research interests

My recent research has been concerned with the sociology of prisons and punishment, and with low-security and women's prisons in particular. My doctoral research was an ethnographic study of coping and social support in two women's prisons in England and was concerned with themes of selfhood, the meanings imprisonment held for prisoners, and power and resistance. My subsequent work has built on this to explore micro-level power relations in prisons, and reflexivity and epistemology in ethnographic research. More recently, themes around gender, sexuality and deviance have become more important in my work. I am currently in the early stages of a research project exploring the experiences of gay, bisexual and queer-identified women either working or held as prisoners in the Criminal Justice System. Alongside this, with my colleague Dr Vickie Cooper and members of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) and Women in Prison (WIP), I am collaborating on the development of a project examining the impact of imprisonment on women, their families and communities.

Journal articles

Rowe, A. (2016) '"Tactics, Agency and Power in Women's Prisons'. British Journal of Criminology. 56(2): 332-349

Rowe, A. (2014) 'Situating the Self in Prison Research: Power, identity and epistemology'. Qualitative Inquiry. 20(4): 404-416

Rowe, A. (2012) 'Sexuality, Criminality and the Prison: Pat Arrowsmith's Somewhere like This'. Prison Service Journal. 199: 32–34.

Rowe, A. (2011) 'Narratives of self and identity in women's prisons: stigma and the struggle for self-definition in penal regimes'. Punishment and Society. 13(5): 571–591. DOI: 10.1177/1462474511422151

Book chapters

Rowe, A. (2011) 'Women Prisoners' in Crewe, B. and J. Bennett (eds.) The Prisoner, London: Routledge.

Mehigan, J. and Rowe, A. (2007) 'Problematizing prison privatization: an overview of the debate', in Y. Jewkes and J. Bennett (eds.) (2007) Handbook on Prisons, Cullompton: Willan

Rowe, A. (2007) Entry on 'Theories of Importation' in Y. Jewkes and J. Bennett (eds.) Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment, Cullompton: Willan

Rowe, A. (2007) Entry on 'Typologies of Prisoners' in Y. Jewkes and J. Bennett (eds.) Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment, Cullompton: Willan

Rowe, A. (2007) Entry on 'The Prison Economy' in Y. Jewkes and J. Bennett (eds.) Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment, Cullompton: Willan

Rowe, A. (2007) Entry on 'Bifurcation' in Y. Jewkes and J. Bennett (eds.) Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment, Cullompton: Willan

Rowe, A. (2007) Entry on 'Friendship' in Y. Jewkes and J. Bennett (eds.) Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment, Cullompton: Willan

Research reports

Bradshaw, J., Kemp, P., Baldwin, S. and Rowe, A. (2004) The Drivers of Social Exclusion: A review of the literature, Social Exclusion Unit, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, London. Available from: http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/spru/research/pdf/drivers.pdf (Accessed 03 July 2013)

Conference papers and other presentations

'Space, support and friendship in women's experiences of imprisonment'. Paper delivered at Mulheres e Crime (Women and Crime) seminar, Universidade do Minho, Braga Portugal. 30 May 2013. Invited speaker.

Rowe, A. (2012) 'Situating the Self in Prison Research: Identity, epistemology and power'. Paper delivered to the 'Resisting the Eclipse' symposium on prison ethnography, hosted by the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR), The Open University, Milton Keynes, 18 September 2012.

Rowe, A. (2012) 'Looking for the "Prison Lesbian": Homosexuality and the (English) women's prison'. Paper delivered to the 'Articulating the personal and the public' Forum at the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG), The Open University, Milton Keynes, 31 May 2012.

Rowe, A. (2012) '"Tactics", agency and power in women's prisons'. Paper delivered to the 'Experiencing Prison' conference, Prague, 11 May 2012.

Rowe, A. (2010) 'Negotiating the meanings of imprisonment: Selfhood, resistance and power in women's prison narratives'. Paper delivered to the British Society of Criminology Conference, Leicester, 14 July 2010.

'Coping and Social Support in Women's Prisons'. Presentation to Senior Management Team, HMP New Hall, 8 December 2008.

'Social Support in Women's Prisons. Paper delivered to British Society of Criminology, 2008, Huddersfield.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Teaching interests

I am Chair of the Level 2 social policy module Welfare, crime and society (DD208), on which I also taught for several years as an Associate Lecturer. I am also contributing to the development of a new Level 2 module Criminological Perspectives (DD212), which will form part of the University's forthcoming undergraduate degree in criminology.

I am interested in receiving applications from prospective research students wishing to conduct research using ethnographic methods, or to study any aspect of the sociology of imprisonment and punishment. I would particularly welcome proposals focusing on women's imprisonment, themes relating to gender, power and identity in prison settings, low-security and open prison conditions, or with themes of gender, sexuality and deviance.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences

Publications

‘Tactics’, Agency and Power in Women’s Prisons (2016-03-01)
Rowe, Abigail
British Journal of Criminology, 56(2) (pp. 332-349)
Situating the Self in Prison Research: Power, Identity, and Epistemology (2014-04)
Rowe, Abigail
Qualitative Inquiry, 20(4) (pp. 404-416)
Sexuality, criminality and the women's prison: Pat Arrowsmith’s Somewhere Like This (2012-01)
Rowe, Abigail
Prison Service Journal, 199 (pp. 32-34)
Narratives of self and identity in women's prisons: stigma and the struggle for self-definition in penal regimes (2011-12)
Rowe, Abigail
Punishment and Society, 13(5) (pp. 571-591)
Women prisoners (2011-11-16)
Rowe, Abigail
In: Crewe, Ben and Bennett, Jamie eds. The Prisoner (pp. 103-116)
ISBN : 415668654 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, Oxon
Bifurcation (2007-11)
Rowe, Abigail
In: Jewkes, Yvonne and Bennett, Jamie eds. Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment (pp. 23-24)
ISBN : 978-1-84392-291-9 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton
Economy (2007-11)
Rowe, Abigail
In: Jewkes, Yvonne and Bennett, Jamie eds. Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment (pp. 76-77)
ISBN : 978-1-84392-291-9 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton
Importation model (2007-11)
Rowe, Abigail
In: Jewkes, Yvonne and Bennett, Jamie eds. Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment (pp. 130-131)
ISBN : 978-1-84392-291-9 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton
Typologies of prisoners (2007-11)
Rowe, Abigail
In: Jewkes, Yvonne and Bennett, Jamie eds. Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment(978-1-8439) (pp. 300-302)
Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton
Friendship (2007-11)
Rowe, Abigail
In: Jewkes, Yvonne and Bennett, Jamie eds. Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment (pp. 98-99)
ISBN : 978-1-84392-291-9 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton
Problematizing prison privatization: an overview of the debate (2007)
Mehigan, James and Rowe, Abigail
In: Jewkes, Yvonne ed. Handbook on Prisons (pp. 356-376)
ISBN : 978-1-84392-185-1 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton

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