(Re)construction of social identities in penitentiary environments: Imprisoned sportswomen

Nerian Martín-González, Nagore Martinez-Merino, Oidui Usabiaga, Daniel Martos


The aim of this article was to explore how different physical activities assisted in the development of interpersonal relationships and the self-construction of new identities for a group of women prisoners during their period of incarceration. Using qualitative research, sixteen women between the ages of 23 and 62 were interviewed, all of whom had participated in sport and physical activities within the prison. It was found that those activities constituted a new way of socialising for imprisoned women. Such increase of interpersonal relationship influenced participants’ (re)categorization, reinforcing considerably their belongness into a new group who attempted, through physical practices, to move away from addictions associated with the prison environment and build up a new positive identity that would improve their psycho-social well-being.


Prison; Woman; Physical activity; Social identity; Categorization

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