Gender configurations in female prisons: permanences, continuities and variations

Principal researcher: Vera Silva

Research group: Governance, Policies and Livelihoods


Gender configurations | Prison regimes | Ethnographic revisitation | Comparative

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date





This project research involving prisioners and prisional staff aims to analyse the permanences, continuities and variations of gender configurations in prison regimes and in formal and informal disciplinary devices. Departing from an ethnographic  revisitation of two female prisons, in Portugal, with diverse organization, locations and histories. This comparative study will be organized along two principal axis: spatiotemporal and inter-institutional. Through the discourses and practices of the  executor side and the biographical narratives of the women prisioners it will articulate the etnographical present with past etnographies developed in both prisons. These prisons have different management models, spaciotemporal specificities and reflect political, sociocultural and legal inter-institutional transformations. The ethnographic revisitation will enable to grasp permanences, variations and continuities of gender configurations in female prisons in Portugal broadening the comparative scope of the international debate about gender and prison.


Full members

Manuela Ivone Cunha

Governance, Policies and Livelihoods