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From punishment to rewards?: Treatment dilemmas at a youth detention home
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2014 (English)In: Punishment & Society, ISSN 1462-4745, E-ISSN 1741-3095, Vol. 16, no 5, 542-559 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present article analyses staff members' discourses on the treatment method token economy, as it is implemented at a detention home for young men. The study draws on interviews with eight staff members and on participant observations at the detention home. Using discursive psychology, the analysis centers on the staff members' own constructions of token economy as well as paradoxes and dilemmas that appear in their talk. Two paradoxes were found: (1) paradox of transparency and interpretation; token economy is objective and transparent, but requires interpretative work over time; and (2) paradox of rewards and punishments; tokens are rewards, but they can be zeroed' or withdrawn in order to limit undesirable behavior. Further, the analysis showed that both paradoxes invoke a principal ideological dilemma of control - freedom, which staff members attempt to resolve by positioning the young men as responsible for their own actions and themselves as subordinate parties in the outcome of objective' token economy practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 16, no 5, 542-559 p.
Keyword [en]
behavior modification, discipline, ideological dilemmas, juvenile delinquents, residential treatment for youth, responsibilization
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113130DOI: 10.1177/1462474514548788ISI: 000346025000003OAI: diva2:790755


Available from: 2015-02-25 Created: 2015-01-23 Last updated: 2015-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Gradin Franzen, Anna
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