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Robert P. Weiss

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“The Order of Attica”

After the “disturbance,” the Attica convicts were stripped naked in the yard and made to crawl, with faces to the ground, back to their cells and thus relegated back “in place” as objects in the “order of things.” The “order” of Attica was an example of what can happen when social relations appear as relations between things, and when human creations—roles, institutions, laws—become objects that control and work back against their creators in a hostile way. Like superhuman agents, these constructions impose their will on interpersonal relations. Also, extreme specialization, unequal power, and hierarchical distance in an institution contribute to reified perception by limiting the abilities of the powerful and the powerless to enter into the attitudes of one another.

prison riots, unequal power, Attica

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 18, No. 3 (1991): 35-48

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