Medlicott, Diana (2004) Narratives of Memory, Identity and Place in Male Prisoners. In: Narrative, Memory & Identity: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 105-117.

This paper looks at some aspects of memory and identity in relation to male
prisoners and their sense of place. Prison is, for those entering it, an exemplary
life event, in terms of the jolt it gives to memory and self-image. In prison,
there is all the time in the world to sit and think, and remember. Memory is a
source of joy and of torment.
I begin by offering a brief illustration of this. James (L6), a prisoner in his
late thirties, told me about the house he lived in for the first nine years of his
life. He could remember every detail of every room, even down to the roses
around the small garden shed in the garden, and he talked me through each
detail. He dreamed of going back to this house in south-west London, and one
day buying it out of his burglary earnings. Then he became embarrassed and
berated himself for sounding ‘daft’. He had never voiced this desire before.
What he was disclosing was an aspect of his identity - a profound
attachment to place, and to the person he used to be in that place. It lodged in
his memory and became woven into his personal identity and his sense of
When he was nine, his parents split up, and the house was sold. That was
the end of his life in that place, but not the end of that place in his life.

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