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Doing Time in the DepressionEveryday Life in Texas and California Prisons$
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Ethan Blue

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814709405

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814709405.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Doing Time in the Depression
Author(s):

Ethan Blue

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814709405.003.0010

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book tells the story of the Great Depression from the state prisons of Texas and California, where the misery of the crisis was indeed multiplied. Texas and California were states on the border of the nation, which saw dynamic population growth in short periods of time. They were also states where people who traveled diverse paths met, lived, loved, and fought. The argument in the subsequent chapters operates at two levels. The first level posits that criminal justice functioned to control large numbers of multiracial working classes in Texas and California, and predominantly working-class men, in a period of widespread economic crisis. The second level of analysis argues that state punishment sustained a racially divided, masculinist, working-class population, and that the social forces prisons generated undermined the promise of radical working-class movements.

Keywords:   state prisons, Texas prisons, California prisons, Great Depression, working-class, state punishment, criminal justice

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