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In this groundbreaking work, Lois Presser investigates the life stories of men who have perpetrated violence. She applies insights from across the academy to in-depth interviews with men who shared their accounts of how they became the people we most fear--those who rape, murder, assault, and rob, often repeatedly. Been a Heavy Life provides the discipline of criminology with two crucial frameworks: one for critically evaluating the construction of offenders’ own stories, and one for grasping the cultural meta-narratives that legitimize violence. For social scientists generally, this book offers a vivid demonstration of just how dynamic and contingent self-narratives are.
About the Author
Lois Presser is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“Interviews of 27 men convicted of violent crime . . . presented in the context of a mass imprisonment binge, illustrate individual struggles and broader issues related to the politics of criminalization and criminal justice. . . . Highly recommended.”--Choice
“A must-read for anyone interested in critical criminology, violent offending, or qualitative methods. . . . Presser provides a unique and fresh new perspective into cultural narratives that legitimate violence.”--Critical Criminology