Into the groove of an alternative masculinity: Drumming groups for incarcerated individuals in a maximum-security facility

Noa Ze’evi, Moshe Bensimon, Avi Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although group drumming has been found to help improve well-being among marginalized populations, including incarcerated individuals, additional study into the possible benefits of drumming within maximum-security facilities is still required. This phenomenological study examines the experiences of fifteen maximum-security-incarcerated individuals who participated in a twelve-session group drumming and the meaning of this group for them. An analysis of interviews that took place after the sessions revealed three main categories: (1) perceptions regarding the djembe – describing how participants initially perceived the djembe as insufficiently masculine, but then changed their minds about this; (2) benevolent relationships – relating to the facilitators’ non-judgemental, nonpatronizing and egalitarian approach within a joyful atmosphere, and how this filtered into the mutual relationships among group members; (3) revealing new possibilities – describing how participants were able to unmask themselves and discover new aspects of their peers, express emotions within a pleasurable and safe space and release aggression. This study suggests that the use of drumming groups as a rehabilitative tool may enable incarcerated individuals to shift from a hegemonic masculinity, that fosters aggression, toughness, boldness, violence and control of others, towards an alternative masculinity that encourages openness, respect, support and the expression of emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-267
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Community Music
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022

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© 2022 Intellect Ltd Article.


  • group drumming
  • group therapy
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • music
  • music therapy
  • prison


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