Paper prisons: morality and ethics in contexts of incarceration

Leading researcher: Afonso de Castro Bento
Research group: Governance, Policies and Livelihoods
Type of project: Doctoral research
Status: Ongoing
Keywords: Ethics | Moral world | Prison

Main institution: CRIA
Participant institutions: n.a.
Funding: FCT
Reference: SFRH/BD/129063/2017
Starting date: 01-09-17

More information:


Prison is one of the few contexts where individuals are forced to engage with abstract moral categories such as punishment, guilt or harm in order to give meaning to their experiences. Indeed, through a diverse set of documents produced by the justice system – such as court ruling transcriptions or psychological reports – the biographies of incarcerated individuals are objectified and transformed in light of such categories. This process challenges the tendency of contemporary anthropological theory of underplaying ethical self-construction that draws upon abstract moral codes. This project aims to understand the conditions which inform ethical thinking in contexts of incarceration by analyzing prison as a moral world, where different individuals and groups – such as prison guards, reeducation officers and inmates – appropriate the categories and meanings it offers.

Researchers from CRIA

IDNamePositionProjTitleProject typeStatus
pub461*Afonso de Castro BentoPrincipal investigatorproj340*Paper prisons: morality and ethics in contexts of incarcerationDoctoral researchOngoing
pub36*Catarina FroisSupervisorproj340*Paper prisons: morality and ethics in contexts of incarcerationDoctoral researchOngoing
Other researchers