Young Men Experiencing Imprisonment Among Hotel, Youth Hostel, and Personal Flat: A Qualitative Reconstructive Analysis of Metaphors of Pre-Trial Detention

  • Stefanie Kessler Chrisrian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • Anja Mensching Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Keywords: reconstructive social research, metaphor analysis, documentary method, pre-trial detention of juveniles, prison, experience of imprisonment


Young adolescents who are arrested in pre-trial detention experience imprisonment (mostly) for the first time. Thus, they face a situation in which they need to accustom themselves. In this article we focus on young men's experiences of imprisonment by looking at their metaphors for incarceration. The presented insights are based on a reconstructive interpretation that combines the documentary method (BOHNSACK, 2014; NOHL, 2017) with a metaphor analysis proposed by LAKOFF and JOHNSON (2003 [1980]); see also KRUSE, BIESEL & SCHMIEDER, 2011 and SCHMITT, 2010, 2013, 2017). As we see in these metaphors, young people in pre-trial detention use concepts known to them to integrate their understanding of incarceration into their life experiences. This indicates that they undergo learning processes in prison contexts. Based on these insights, we suggest approaches of subject-oriented pedagogical work with young prisoners in pre-trial detention.


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Author Biographies

Stefanie Kessler, Chrisrian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel

Institut für Pädagogik - Abteilung Organisationspädagogik

Anja Mensching, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Dr. Anja MENSCHING; Professorin für Organisationspädagogik am Institut für Pädagogik der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. Ihre Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind: organisationales Lernen und Gedächtnis, Organisationskulturen und Lernpraktiken, informelle Lern- und Bildungsprozesse in organisationalen Kontexten, Führungserfahrungen und Führungspraktiken im organisationalen Kontext, qualitativ-rekonstruktiver Polizeiforschung (u.a. Hierarchiebeziehungen, organisationskulturelle Praktiken, Arbeitsanforderungen und Arbeitsbelastung in der Polizei), Forschung zu marginalisierten Gruppen und Institutionen der Sozialkontrolle, rekonstruktive Sozialforschung (insbesondere dokumentarische Methode), qualitativ-rekonstruktive Evaluationsforschung