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CEDLA Researchers


Dr Julienne Weegels


Assistant Professor


T. +31-20-5253251

Julienne Weegels (Haarlem, 1987) is assistant professor of Latin American Studies at CEDLA as of August 2020. She is an ethnographer with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology from the University of Amsterdam (2008), and an MA in Latin American Studies from the CEDLA (2009, cum laude). She obtained her PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam (2018, cum laude), working at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) and CEDLA. She is the current co-convener of the Anthropology of Confinement Network, founding member of the Red de Investigación Penitenciaria de las Américas (APRN-RISPA), and co-organizer of the Global Prisons Research Network. Between 2009 and 2016 she conducted 31 months of field research in Nicaragua with prisoners and former prisoners of three prison facilities. In 2019 she was visiting fellow to the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology’s Prisons Research Centre (PRC). See more details at the personal page at UvA website +INFO


Julienne is much interested in the politics of (dis)order and the entanglement of violence with governance. Her PhD research focused on Nicaraguan (former) prisoners’ experiences of imprisonment and the state and on their ‘performing’ of violence, governance, masculinities, and change. Simultaneously, however, it also sought to shed light on the development of Nicaragua’s hybrid carceral state and the intimate relation it projects between extralegality and the exercise of (state) power. This research culminated in the manuscript ‘Performing Prison: Power, Agency, and Co-Governance in Nicaraguan Prisons’.


At present, following the 2018 anti-government protests, Julienne is conducting research on practices of (state) violence and authoritarianism in Nicaragua. This research project takes the key findings and material from her prisons research as its point of departure, combining it with new research on the changing practices and understandings of policing and confinement in Nicaragua today. In particular, it investigates the government’s strategies of repression and negotiation, as well as its crisis in legitimacy at the hand of its para-state organization, while also seeking to understand the protesters’ divergent claims to the state under the banner of 'justicia'. In doing so, it focuses on three areas:


1) the rearrangement of co-governance arrangements between powerful stakeholders,
2) the practices and claims to justice by groups of 'autoconvocados', (family members of) political prisoners and their associations, and 3) the state’s extralegal governance techniques (including torture and political imprisonment).


Julienne is open to (co-)supervise MA/MSc and PhD projects in the areas of social/political anthropology and/or critical criminology (including prison and gender studies), on themes related to imprisonment, policing/crime control/criminalization, governance, corruption, violence, and/or gender/sexualities, from an ethnographic perspective and/or a regional focus on Latin- or Central America. Feel free to reach out for a talk.

We are happy to announce that
Dr. Julienne Weegels obtained a research grant from the new Kenniscentrum Ongelijkheid to work on an Amsterdam-based research project with Dr. Thijs Jeursen (Universiteit Utrecht),
Restorative Justice Netherlands and the "Kenniswerkplaats Vrijheidsbeneming and Maatschappij" (knowledge-workshop for freedom privation and society). 

Judge's Table_edited.jpg

The project will run for 18 months and is about the ways in which social, spatial and legal inequalities are produced, mitigated and reinforced through the Dutch criminal justice system. From neighbourhood policing to reinsertion after prison time, we'll be looking at the full range of crime control-based state interventions in the living environments and lives of young adults from different socioeconomic backgrounds. "Het Ongelijkheidsbeginsel" is a word-play on the principle of equality before the law, spinning it to mean the principle of inequality instead. It is an interdisciplinary, practice-oriented project at the crossroads of urban and legal anthropology, critical criminology and carceral geography, aimed at pealing apart and fighting cumulative inequalities.

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