Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE)

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Qiu, K. M. (2020). Exploring Discourses on Prison Education. A comparative analysis of prison education policies of the UK, Norway and Ireland. Mémoire de maîtrise inédit, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.


Mémoires et thèses


Prisoners constitute one of the most marginalized groups of society and prison education as a field remains under-researched and under-theorized (Szifris et al., 2018). Regarding European policy documentation it “has been surprisingly invisible” (Czerniawski, 2016, p. 202). This thesis seeks to contribute to the field of prison education policy research. It critically examines prison education documents of the UK, Norway and Ireland. The theoretical framework draws from critical theory, critical discourse analysis (CDA), critical pedagogy and critical adult education as well as neoliberalism in education. CDA serves hereby both as theory and method that allows us to uncover the different ideologies and assumptions underlying the documents. 

The research suggests that the policy document of the UK follows a neoliberal and narrow approach to education where the value of education is exhausted by the fact that it can fill workplace shortages. Further, prisoners are portrayed one-sided with being an offender as the main characteristic. On the other hand, Norway and Ireland represent prisoners as persons with different backgrounds, needs and feelings. Both reflect notions of critical pedagogy and critical adult education thus emphasizing the importance of fostering critical thinking through education and education for personal development. Further, it stresses the alleviating function of education in prison. However, in the Norwegian document the language remains unassertive when it comes to the applicability of the right to education to foreign prisoners in Norwegian prisons. The Irish document leaves unclear from which perspective their objectives and concepts in education are considered. Additionally, the thesis also critically discusses the need for a wide curriculum in prison, perceptions of self-responsibility and problematizes the over-reliance on measurement in education.


Logos des universités associées au CRIFPE

Adresse civique

Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
90, avenue Vincent d'Indy
Pavillon Marie-Victorin – C-536
Outremont (Québec) H2V 2S9

Adresse postale

Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
CRIFPE – C-543
C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville
Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7