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Review 1 of "'It’s Not a Conversation Starter.' Or is it?: Stigma Management Strategies of the Formerly Incarcerated in Personal and Occupational Settings"

…Qualitative…Criminology

Published onFeb 16, 2021
Review 1 of "'It’s Not a Conversation Starter.' Or is it?: Stigma Management Strategies of the Formerly Incarcerated in Personal and Occupational Settings"

Vote: Publish as is


[For votes to count, referees must reasonably explain why they voted as they did. Thus, please explain your vote. If you voted to publish pending minor changes, specify each change, why it is needed, and, possibly, how it should/could be done.]

In accordance with the journal’s guidelines, this paper, as written, is good and competently executed.  More specifically, it is well written and nicely documented on a compelling subject matter. The methods of data collection and analysis are appropriate and explained with enough detail.

[Please put additional info below, as/if you see fit.]

(1)   On p2, authors mention that FI persons are particularly vulnerable to un/underemployment “during a time of economic recession when employment discrimination can decrease their chances of securing well-paying jobs and limit their earnings potential.” I understand that this statement may be made in light of the time period in which the authors conducted these interviews, but isn’t this statement also true in times of economic “booms” or economic “security” in the U.S.? Perhaps it isn’t as visible because of the way employment is conventionally measured, but it seems to me, employment discrimination remains. One way to further interrogate this is to see if the interview data references economic discrimination differently depending on specific times/processes of economic expansion and contraction? Finally, it may be worth considering in future papers how this is related to the broad context of a capitalist economy and growing neoliberal legislation and trends.

(2)   On p13, do you mean to say that pseudonyms are meant to protect the participants’ confidentiality rather than anonymity?

(3)   The authors only briefly review prior research on non-economic interpersonal stigma; most of the review is focused on economic discrimination or stigmatization. But the methods section about the structure of interviews around p11 and the presentation of the findings (until page 29), seem to speak rather equally about romantic, community, and economic-based stigma and/or discrimination. Could you add more context and discussion of extant research on non-economic forms of stigma to the front end to balance out the methods and findings that are presented herein?

(4)   There’s a lot of data presented here, but I hope the authors will consider publishing additional pieces about the data collected. Perhaps for obvious reasons related to the sex ratio of incarceration, the sample is skewed in gender, but there is suggestion in the data presentation here that there are gender differences in narratives and experiences, which could be informative if more fully explored.

(5)   There may be some in-text citation errors. For example, see Alexander mention on p8.

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