Carceral Citizens explores an underappreciated innovation of late capitalism: the carceral state and volunteerism are coalescing, and through this odd unification, formerly incarcerated men are devising sub-minimum wage jobs for themselves as “volunteers” and “self-help guides” in correctional re-education programs which they are increasingly responsible for running. Carceral Citizens presents an ethnographic portrait of this development and a reflection on its social significance, with Puerto Rico – the oldest colony in the Americas – as its focal point. It is animated by two overarching questions: As confinement, volunteer work, and self-help coalesce, what kind of life becomes possible? And more to the point, what do terms like “volunteer” or “self-help” mean in carceral spaces?

Co-sponsored by the Research Theme in Health Equity & Translational Social Science (HETSS) and the Rangell Social Medicine Grand Rounds Series

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