Le difficoltà di accesso al carcere e i limiti alla ricerca qualitativa

Difficulties in Accessing the Prison and the Limits to Qualitative Research


  • Giuseppina Casale Università di Salerno, Italy


The article comes from an awareness of the usefulness of the reflexivity practice for the researcher involved in sociological research in prison. During the research phases, the physical obstacles to access to the investigation field are accompanied by difficulties of freeing themselves from the influence of the rehabilitative-correctionist rhetoric, typical of the penitentiary. Embracing a critical view of the rehabilitation ideology that regards the prison, as it isn’t re-socializing, the researcher compares himself, in the course of the experience at the IPM of Nisida, with the mechanisms put in place by the prison institution to influence the researcher and bring his work within this paradigm. After introducing the main methodological issues related to sociological research in prison, the researcher proceeds in an attempt to identify and describe the typical defensive strategies more or less consciously used by the prison institution. It is necessary to consider these limitations, during the collection and analysis of the data, in order to be able to manage the field reflexively and not be subjugated to the institutional logics, but most of all to expose conservative dynamics that block prison reform and a more equitable and sustainable social development.