Stigmata of degeneration: suffragette experience in Scotland's Perth Prison

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Secrecy constructs knowledge by determining what is known. This article argues that female suffragettes held in Perth prison between 1909 and 1914 were silenced materially and symbolically: negative labelling of them as enemies legitimated their punishment in the eyes of the British establishment including dominant political constituencies in the House of Commons. Isolating suffragettes through incarceration protected the state and government ministers, allowing legal discretion to be exercised to ensure the effectiveness of the state’s morally dubious underbelly contained in its contested penal
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalPrison Service Journal
Issue number246
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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