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Perceptions of self-legitimacy and audience legitimacy among prison officers in Ghana

Akoensi, Thomas D (2016) Perceptions of self-legitimacy and audience legitimacy among prison officers in Ghana. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 40 (3). pp. 1-17. ISSN 0192-4036. E-ISSN 2157-6475. (doi:10.1080/01924036.2016.1165712) (KAR id:55958)

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Criminological research on legitimacy has focused almost exclusively on citizens’ normative assessment of legal authorities. However, this line of research neglects power-holders’ own assessment of their legitimacy or self-confidence in their moral validity of their claims to power. This paper examines the conditions on which prison officers as power-holders base their legitimacy claims. Data from semi-structured interviews and observation of prison officers in Ghana shows that prison officers in Ghana exude high power-holder legitimacy underpinned by favourable assessment of their “self-” and “perceived audience” legitimacy in the eyes of prisoners. While officers’ self-legitimacy was underpinned in their legal status (e.g., legality) and the uniforms (e.g., state insignia), perceived legitimacy was anchored in officers’ maintenance of authority via self-discipline, good and close officer–prisoner relationships, respect for prisoners as humans, and professional competence or making a difference in the lives of prisoners.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/01924036.2016.1165712
Uncontrolled keywords: Self-legitimacy, self-confidence, prison officers, postcolonial, Ghana prisons, cooperation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Lisa Towers
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2016 11:32 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Akoensi, Thomas D:
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