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New book on The Cage of Days: Time and Temporal Experience in Prison

New book by sociologist Michael G. Flaherty (Eckerd College), co-written during his AIAS fellowship with long-term prisoner K. C. Carceral, studies time and temporal experience during imprisonment.

Image: Book cover, Columbia University Press.

The new book, The Cage of Days (Columbia University Press, 2021), is an outcome of a long-standing collaboration between an academic and a prisoner: K. C. Carceral (pseudonym), a formerly incarcerated convict criminologist, and Professor Michael G. Flaherty, a sociologist who studies temporal experience. Drawing from Carceral’s field notes, his interviews with fellow inmates, and convict memoirs, The Cage of Days reveals what time does to prisoners and what prisoners do to time.

In the book, Carceral and Flaherty consider the connection between the subjective dimensions of time and the existential circumstances of imprisonment. Convicts find that their experience of time has become deeply distorted by the rhythm and routines of prison and by how authorities ensure that an inmate’s time is under their control. They become obsessed with the passage of time and preoccupied with regaining temporal autonomy, creating elaborate strategies for modifying their perception of time. To escape the feeling that their lives lack forward momentum, prisoners devise distinctive ways to mark the passage of time, but these tactics can backfire by intensifying their awareness of temporality. The Cage of Days examines how prisons regulate time and how prisoners resist the temporal regime.

More about the book via



Michael G. Flaherty, AIAS Former Fellow and Professor of Sociology,
E-mail: flahermg@eckerd.edu

Eckerd College and the University of South Florida