Preliminary fieldwork trip to Tbilisi, Georgia

At the beginning of March, Costanza Curro, a post-doctoral researcher on the team, spent a week in Tbilisi to do some preliminary research on the prison system in Georgia. Costanza has established useful contacts among academics, social workers and other experts working on topics related to prisons – notably reforms of the penal system occurred since the end of the Soviet Union, and the transformation of prison subculture and its relevance within and outside Georgian prisons. This preliminary strand of fieldwork has laid the foundations for further research in Tbilisi and some of the Georgian regions, which will focus mainly on interviews with former prisoners and will keep into account differences in ethnic background, but also socio-economic position, age, length and type of sentence as well as regional and/or neighbourhood belonging. This research will take two main directions: 1) it will analyse narratives and practices of hospitality in the prison, and detect the role and relevance of ethnicity in them; 2) it will investigate the ethnic dimension of the prison subculture.

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