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Home arrow Law arrow Prisons and Punishment in Texas: Culture, History and Museological Representation


This chapter has sought to illustrate the importance of museums as cultural spaces in which self-identities are revealed. From a criminological perspective, punishment museums offer a fascinating opportunity to examine the ways in which a given collective narrates its own relationship with punishment. This is particularly interesting in the case of Texas because so many people are telling their stories about Lone Star justice with little consideration of how Texas—as a place—tells those same stories. We will soon move on to the museums themselves, but before we do I feel I should make clear that this book is of course itself a narrative. It is a story about stories if you will and so I—as the author—can never be removed from the act of telling it. It will likely be clear by now that what follows is ‘my story’, a narration of my journey. Moreover, by accepting that this book is a collection of narratives, I also emphasise that it is of a specific space and time; such is the nature of narrative.

In the chapters that follow, I will tell you many stories and while these are underpinned by rigorous data collection methods and informed by a lengthy interpretative analysis, I have to concede they are stories nonetheless. Indeed, the next chapter draws directly from my research diary and field notes; I have quite literally written the story of my travels in order to acquaint you with the museums and tourist sites I visited. In the following chapter then, I will describe some of the places I visited and some of the people I met on my expedition in order to introduce you to Texas from my perspective. We will be analysing the stories told within the tourist sites in Part III of this book. For now, though, I would simply like to invite you to become a Texas tourist.

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