Re­search Top­ic:

De­vel­op­ing an in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary ap­proach between crim­in­o­logy, so­cial con­trol the­or­ies and crit­ic­al an­thro­po­logy, the pro­ject pro­poses to es­tab­lish a the­or­et­ic­al frame­work for the ana­lys­is of cur­rent pun­it­ive trans­form­a­tion in West­ern so­ci­et­ies. In this frame­work, the pro­ject in­vest­ig­ates the ra­tion­al­ity and mech­an­isms of a “new” mod­el of pen­al man­age­ment in the Span­ish pris­on sys­tem. This mod­el has been con­cep­tu­al­ized by the re­search­er as Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance. It serves to ana­lyze the bi­opol­it­ic­al strategies, dis­cip­lin­ary ac­tions and rhet­or­ic or­ders through which the pris­on is al­lowed to le­git­im­ate a new con­trol re­gime in the post­mod­ern era and en­ables im­port­ant ques­tions of con­tem­por­ary gov­ernance to be ad­dressed. As­sum­ing that pris­on gov­ernance is sig­ni­fic­ant for so­ci­ety as a whole, the re­search will ana­lyze con­trol tech­no­lo­gies ex­er­ted in pris­on spaces and how they slide in­to pub­lic dy­nam­ics through dif­fer­ent agen­cies. Con­sequently an­oth­er concept, the Pun­it­ive Agora, will be de­veloped.

The pro­ject has two in­ter­woven ob­ject­ives. First, it will pur­sue eth­no­graph­ic field­work in or­der to pro­duce data about the tech­nic­al and sym­bol­ic devices in­tro­duced by Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance in the Span­ish pris­on en­vir­on­ment. Second, ap­ply­ing the two new con­cepts, the pro­ject will dis­cuss from the bi­opol­it­ic­al per­spect­ive, the emer­gence of a kind of power which opens to the glob­al mo­bil­iz­a­tion of life.

Re­search Ob­ject­ives:

Gen­er­al ob­ject­ive

The gen­er­al ob­ject­ive has two in­ter­woven as­pects. First, to de­vel­op an eth­no­graph­ic and in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary study ana­lyz­ing the mor­pho­logy, in­tens­ity and ef­fects of the Thera­peut­ic in­ter­ven­tion in the Span­ish pris­on sys­tem in or­der to identi­fy its agents, tech­nic­al and in­sti­tu­tion­al devices and codes. Second, ap­ply­ing a com­par­at­ive per­spect­ive, the aim is to elab­or­ate on a pro­found the­or­et­ic­al frame­work re­gard­ing Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance and Pun­it­ive Agora as two cru­cial con­cepts to con­trib­ute to the in­ter­na­tion­al de­bate about the cre­ation of an inter-sec­tor­al and cross-cul­tur­al pen­al net in Europe.

Spe­cif­ic ob­ject­ives

  1. The­or­et­ic­al elab­or­a­tion of Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance and Pun­it­ive Agora from an in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary and com­par­at­ive per­spect­ive in or­der to con­trib­ute to elu­cid­ate what kind of re­la­tion­ships ex­ist between in­side and out­side the pris­on.
  2. De­scribe the main devices of Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance from an inter-sec­tor­al per­spect­ive: in­mates, fam­ily, guards, so­cial work­ers and re­search­ers.
  3. De­scribe the agen­cies of the Pun­it­ive Agora through an ana­lys­is of the ex­tern­al ef­fects that im­pris­on­ment has on the in­mates, their fam­il­ies and their so­cial en­vir­on­ment.
  4. Bey­ond its sci­entif­ic achieve­ments, the pro­ject aims at im­prov­ing pub­lic know­ledge about the con­tem­por­ary pris­on and forms of pris­on man­age­ment. Thus, it will – on the basis of re­cog­ni­tion of the pris­on­er's civil rights, re­spect for their cul­tur­al di­versity and resti­tu­tion of their per­son­al dig­nity – con­trib­ute to an im­prove­ment of the situ­ation of pris­on­ers and ex-pris­on­ers.

Re­search Meth­od­o­logy:

  1. The de­vel­op­ment of the the­or­et­ic­al frame­work: A thor­ough bib­li­o­graph­ic­al re­vi­sion and the­or­et­ic­al dis­cus­sion in the field of cur­rent crit­ic­al crim­in­o­logy, pris­on an­thro­po­logy and so­ci­ology will be con­duc­ted in or­der to build a sound the­or­et­ic­al and meth­od­o­lo­gic­al frame­work for the concept Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance and to ob­tain a pre­lim­in­ary ap­proach to the concept of the Pun­it­ive Agora.
  2. Qual­it­at­ive study and in-depth strategy: In­tens­ive field re­search to pro­duce qual­it­at­ive in­form­a­tion will take place. This eth­no­graph­ic level tackles the dir­ect know­ledge of the (in­sti­tu­tion­al, so­cial and in­di­vidu­al) prac­tices and strategies ap­plied in­side the thera­peut­ic mod­ules in or­der to man­age di­versity, con­flict and vi­ol­ence. It in­cludes an in­vest­ig­a­tion of the pro­grams and mech­an­isms through which gov­ern­ment­al and non-gov­ern­ment­al agen­cies try to reso­cial­ize and re­in­sert the cor­rec­tion­al pop­u­la­tion. At this stage the re­search will in­volve the every­day life of the pris­on, the re­hab­il­it­a­tion and so­cial re­in­ser­tion pro­grams, the tech­nic­al and edu­ca­tion­al work­shops and thera­peut­ic groups out­side the pris­on.
  3. Ar­che­olo­gic­al and gene­a­lo­gic­al ana­lys­is: Once the them­at­ic groups have been set up, the in­vest­ig­a­tion of bio­graph­ic events will be ini­ti­ated. This shall en­able an in-depth in­vest­ig­a­tion of the ori­gins, edu­ca­tion­al levels, eco­nom­ic activ­it­ies and the cul­tur­al and polit­ic­al cor­rel­ates of the in­di­vidu­al. At this stage, qual­it­at­ive tech­niques of in­vest­ig­a­tion will be ap­plied in or­der to pro­duce an archive of ex­per­i­ences and memor­ies. A com­par­at­ive strategy will be ap­plied: the res­ults of the eth­no­graph­ic field­work will be con­tras­ted with sim­il­ar eth­no­graph­ies pro­duced in Ger­many and sev­er­al oth­er European coun­tries.
  4. In­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary and in­teg­ra­tion phase: Once the archive of ex­per­i­ences and memor­ies has been cre­ated and con­tras­ted, the fi­nal stage of re­search will be­gin: an in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary ana­lys­is and the fram­ing of con­clu­sions. Con­duct­ing an in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary ana­lys­is of the in­form­a­tion gained dur­ing the field­work, the ana­lyt­ic­al con­cepts of Thera­peut­ic Gov­ernance and the Pun­it­ive Agora will be thor­oughly con­struc­ted and dis­cussed.


The pro­ject was fun­ded from 01-01-10 to 31-12-12 by the European Com­munity, FP 7, Mar­ie Curie Ac­tion, In­tra-European Fel­low­ship (IEF).