- Performing prison
- Power, agency and co-governance in Nicaraguan prisons
- Award date
- 5 September 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
This thesis seeks to understand the powers and public secrecy involved in Nicaraguan prison governance. It builds on debates surrounding (hybrid) governance in Latin America and the anthropology of the state, as well as a multi-sited ethnography of the Nicaraguan carceral universe. My participation in the prison environment as the assistant facilitator of a prison theater project allowed me to conduct research with those who the state seeks to govern and control (that is, convicted prisoners and former prisoners), following them through their prison time (and into their post-release lives) over the course of 31 months between 2009 and 2016. This ethnographic engagement allowed me to observe how the (dis)ordering practices that permeate prison life implied a collusion between authorities and prisoners to manage both prison’s legal and extralegal dimensions. As these governance arrangements involved both prisoners and authorities in the ordering of prison, and a sharing of power, which moreover appeared to shape a dependence on one another for the maintenance of such arrangements, I termed them co-governance arrangements. In order to fully understand what is at stake in the emergence and maintenance of co-governance arrangements, this research tries to understand the mutuality, collusion, and embeddedness of these arrangements within the larger logics of state governance. That is, within the process of the consolidation of a “hybrid state” (in this case, a Sandinista state) in which politics, policing, and governance are entangled and arranged in what prisoners colloquially refer to as el Sistema (the System).
Thesis (Embargo up to and including 5 September 2020)
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