- Author: Ferreccio Vanina Vianello Francesca
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This article focuses on issues related to sociological research in prisons, with particular reference to the need for researchers to deal with paradigms that legitimize imprisonment. Even when the research field is left open to the researcher, prison administrations seem to expect the researcher to subscribe to the principles that govern the institution. Drawing on the authors’ own research experience, the article examines the links and potential conflicts between, on the one hand, the strategies deployed by the institution to obtain a functional stance on the part of the researcher and, on the other, the values that the researcher necessarily brings with her/him when defining hypotheses and marking the boundaries of the research field. The researcher needs to retain a degree of independence and even the possibility to reject the ideology that governs the institution, in order to verify the premises that legitimize the institution and to investigate their ideological function.