Rhizomatic affective spaces and the therapeutic potential of music in prison: a qualitative meta-synthesis

Zetta Kougiali, Tomer Einat, Alison Liebling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Research literature supports that music programmes in prisons can have a therapeutic effect in prisoners’ lives that could promote personal development and assist the process toward desistance. The authors use a meta-synthetic approach to examine 12 qualitative articles published worldwide to explore the therapeutic potential of such programmes. The findings suggest that music programmes in prison are perceived by participating prisoners as a liberating process, which encourages participation and allows for noncoercive personal development. The therapeutic potential of music programmes is located in the combination of the benefits emanating from the effect and practice of music and the creation of mental, spatial and temporal zones of free expression and those that derive from the egalitarian and nonauthoritative approach employed by the facilitators. These findings are discussed along with aspects involved in the provision of offender treatment as well as factors that affect treatment response and engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.


  • Meta-synthesis
  • music
  • offender rehabilitation
  • offender treatment
  • prison


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