Examining the benefits of social capital for ‘offender’ health and wellbeing at a resettlement scheme (RS)
  • Room 305, Rolle Building

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Today's seminar speaker is Dr Julie Parsons from the School of Law, Criminology and Government, University of Plymouth.

Since September 2015, Julie has worked on funded research with ‘offenders’ at a resettlement scheme (RS) for men released on temporary licence (ROTL) from the local prison and offenders on community orders, referred to as trainees. 

In this seminar she draws on data from over 55 in-depth qualitative interviews with 30 ‘offenders’ conducted during two consecutive research fellowships. The first, a Sociology of Health and Illness Foundation (SHI) Mildred Blaxter post-doctoral fellowship (2015-16) entitled 'Commensality as a tool for health, wellbeing, social inclusion and community resilience'. The second an Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) mid-career fellowship (2016-17), entitled 'Developing capitals through Photographic electronic Narratives (PeN)* at a resettlement scheme (RS)'. This second project is ongoing with support from the University of Plymouth, the RS and the ISRF. Thematic analysis from the interview transcripts highlights the importance of ‘social capital’, in preparing trainees for resettlement into the community after punishment. This is both ‘bonding’ (close ties and family/friends) and ‘bridging’ social capital, (distant, wider networks of acquaintances and colleagues), which it is argued are essential for successful reparation (McNeill and Weaver 2010). Moreover, the PeN project itself through its use of social media and mediated virtual dialogues has become a vehicle for the articulation of what Quinn (2005, 2010) refers to as ‘imagined social capital,’ or ‘the benefits created by participating in symbolic and imagined social networks’ (Quinn, 2010:142). Indeed, as Ivana (2017:58) claims ‘bonds of social capital do not need to be factual in order to be effective,’ as ‘they are just as beneficial […] in generating social capital’ (Ivana 2017:60).

* https://penprojectlandworks.org/


  • Ivana, G-L, (2016) Fake it till you make it: imagined social capital, The Sociological Review, Vol 65, Issue 1, pp. 52 – 66.
  • McNeill, F. and Weaver, B. (2010) Changing lives? Desistance Research and Offender Management, Available: www.cepprobation.org/uploaded_files/SCCJRReport_2010_03_Changing_Lives.pdf
  • Quinn, J. (2005). Belonging in a learning community: The re-imagined university and imagined social capital. Studies in the Education of Adults, 37, 4–17.
  • Quinn, J. (2010). Learning communities and imagined social capital, learning to belong. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing.

This free seminar is open to all. Please register your place via the above link.

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