Emerton, Robyn (2018) Transgender prisoners: law, prison administration, and the emerging tension between human rights and risk. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Through the figure of the transgender prisoner, this thesis examines both the transformative potential, and the limits, of law and human rights, in redrawing the lines of sex/gender and expanding the possibilities and liveability of transgender lives. The prison, with its sex-segregated estate and binary gender society/regime, is a particularly useful site to examine how transgender people and their bodies are problematised in broader society. It magnifies the challenges faced by law and human rights in attempting to alter certain historically entrenched “truths” about sex/gender and transgender people. Drawing on post-Foucauldian legal scholarship, queer, feminist and transgender literature, and risk theory, the thesis examines the impact of recent human rights-based legal developments on English and Welsh prison policy, and considers the potential of human rights discourse to alter the prison administration’s governance of sex/gender, as it relates to transgender prisoners. It focuses on three areas: prison allocation and segregation, gender presentation and access to medical treatment. The thesis identifies an emerging tension between human rights and risk in the prison’s construction and governance of transgender prisoners. It reflects on a particularly deeply-entrenched anxiety about the gender authenticity and bodies of transgender women prisoners, especially those who transition whilst in prison and wish to transfer to the female estate. It concludes by arguing that there are certain inescapable “truths” that society cannot seem to get beyond, and that, whatever law and policy say, both bodies and normative gender performance still matter in cultural and institutional constructions of “authentic” gender and risk.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Contributors: Sharpe, A (Thesis advisor)
Corcoran, MS (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 11:15
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2020 13:25
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/5179

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