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Space, place and movement as aspects of health care in three women's prisons


  • Stoller, Nancy


This paper focuses on prison as a place in which the prisoner seeks health and health services. Drawing on the work of Henri LeFebvre, Edward Casey, Jeffrey Malpas, and Michel Foucault, a spatial analysis examines the constitutive roles of movement, social structure, and power in determining the prisoner's access to health care. The research methodology utilizes quantitative and qualitative analysis of women prisoners' attempts to get treatment for their health problems. The narratives of these often-failed attempts construct prison as a place where health care access is continually thwarted by rules, custodial priorities, poor health care management, incompetence, and indifference. Analysis of spatial practices, representations of space, and spaces of representation demonstrate the imposition of structural ordering, its naturalization, and the role of narrative in questioning the order, thereby creating possibilities for imaginary and real places where the prisoners' health needs can be met. Simultaneously, this analysis illuminates basic ethical questions about the limitations of human connection and medical caring in prison settings, regardless of the personal motivation of the caregiver.

Suggested Citation

  • Stoller, Nancy, 2003. "Space, place and movement as aspects of health care in three women's prisons," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(11), pages 2263-2275, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:11:p:2263-2275

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    Cited by:

    1. Sifunda, Sibusiso & Reddy, Priscilla S. & Braithwaite, Ron & Stephens, Torrance & Ruiter, Rob AC & van den Borne, Bart, 2006. "Access point analysis on the state of health care services in South African prisons: A qualitative exploration of correctional health care workers' and inmates' perspectives in Kwazulu-Natal and Mpuma," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(9), pages 2301-2309, November.
    2. Stonington, Scott D., 2012. "On ethical locations: The good death in Thailand, where ethics sit in places," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(5), pages 836-844.
    3. Hamilton, Bridget Elizabeth & Manias, Elizabeth, 2007. "Rethinking nurses' observations: Psychiatric nursing skills and invisibility in an acute inpatient setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 331-343, July.
    4. Golden, Annis G., 2014. "Permeability of public and private spaces in reproductive healthcare seeking: Barriers to uptake of services among low income African American women in a smaller urban setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 137-146.


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