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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ANT2114: The Anthropology of Prisons

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Tom Rice (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module focuses on anthropological and sociological approaches to prisons and imprisonment. The anthropology of prisons is closely bound up with sociological and criminological work on imprisonment, and we explore some of the key theorists and ideas these disciplines share. Importantly, though, the module investigates what we might consider to be the distinctive contribution that anthropology makes to our understanding of prisons by using a variety of ethnographic case studies to explore experiences of imprisonment in diverse cultural contexts. We will look at case studies of prisons Northern Ireland, Papua New Guinea, India and Bolivia as well as other settings to gain a sense of the diversity of carceral environments and of experiences of incarceration.

There are no prerequisites for this module. It is suitable for both specialist (e.g anthropology or criminology) and non-specialist students. It can be undertaken as part of an interdisciplinary pathway.

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