Julienne Weegels is a postdoctoral researcher with CEDLA as of September 2018. 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.
Between 2009 and 2016 she conducted 31 months of field research in Nicaragua with prisoners and former prisoners of three prison facilities. She is a founding member of the Anthropology of Confinement Network, the Red de Investigación Penitenciaria de las Américas, and co-organizer of the Global Prisons Research Network.
Julienne is much interested in the (gendered) politics of (dis)order, the entanglement of violence and (extralegal modes of) governance, power, justice, and public secrecy. Her PhD research focused on (former) prisoners’ experience of imprisonment and the state and on their ‘performing’ of violence, governance, 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 developing a research project on Nicaraguan practices of authority, justice and sovereignty from below. This research project takes the key findings and material from her prison 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 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 and libertad. In doing so, it focuses on the practices and claims to sovereignty by groups of autoconvocados (self-convened protesters), and the state’s extralegal governance techniques (including torture and political imprisonment).
Julienne will be a visiting fellow with the University of Cambridge’s Prisons Research Centre (PRC) in the second half of 2019.