- The prisoner's body: violence, desire and masculinities in a Nicaraguan prison theatre group
- Book title
- Gender and conflict: embodiments, discourses and symbolic practices
- Pages (from-to)
- Farnham: Ashgate
- Gender in a global/local world
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
It is not violence but rather its supposed absence within incarceration that makes every interaction, verbal or physical, ridden with its intentions. This chapter follows the Nicaraguan prisoner not only in his narrative silences, gaps, and sudden confessions of blood-stained experience but also in his ridiculization and fascination with the effeminate ‘other’. The constant threat of de-masculinization plays a paramount part in the reworking of gendered social identities within confinement. In a society where the passive man is rendered female, the virgin anus becomes the symbol of masculine dominance. When mapping the inmate’s body, a field of tensions between the desirable and the tough becomes apparent in which being tough (nefasto, duro, vale verga) is desirable and being desirable can be dangerously ambiguous. The tough/desirable dynamics provide an entry into the conflictive hegemonic discourse of machismo. Violence becomes a necessary performance of masculinity in a constant renegotiation of toughness as the inmates’ gendered bodies are induced with contradictive meanings. This paper explores these performances in male-male relationships, both friendly, violent as well as amorous, based on 10 months over the course of two years of extensive research and participation in a Nicaraguan prison theater group.
Key words: Prison (Nicaragua), sexuality, bodies, violence, identity, performativity, masculinity, machismo, homoeroticism.
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