From the Field is Border Criminologies new ‘mini-post’ series featuring news from researchers currently in the field. In the third instalment, Border Criminologies researcher Ines Hasselberg provides an update on her current fieldwork.

Click on the image to see BBC News short piece on HMP Huntercombe, 24.02.2012
For the past five weeks I have been conducting research at HMP Huntercombe, a prison establishment in Great Britain holding foreign-national prisoners only. The aim of such segregation is, as stated in the prison's homepage,  'to support government priorities on the deportation of foreign national offenders'. This research project is entitled The Postcolonial Prison: Citizenship, Punishment and Mobility and is part of the larger project Subjectivity, Identity and Penal Power.  The aim of The Postcolonial Prison is to gain a better understanding of the experiences of foreigners in prison in order to discuss the relevance of citizenship and migration to our understanding of imprisonment. Particular attention is paid to matters of gender, race and ethnicity.

I found out very quickly that how prisoners engage with me dictates how my time in prison is spent. But whether I am conducting interviews, chatting around or just observing prisoners going about with their daily routines, my visits to prison are not just opportunities to gather data. As with most ethnographic field research, they are occasions where I have to deal with, and reflect on, matters of methods, embodiment, language and emotional engagement. Issues that I hope to write about soon.

In the meantime, if you have an interest in these issues check out Thomas Ugelvik's recent post here at Border Criminologies, and the programme for our upcoming seminar Punishment, Citizenship and Identity: Reflections on Foreign National Prisoners.

See also other mini-posts from the series From the Field: