Plotting Prisons, Flows and Affections: Brazilian Female Prisoners between the Transnational Drug Trade and Sex Markets in Barcelona
Criminology & Criminal Justice, Vol 16, Issue 3, pp. 366 – 385
24 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2017
Date Written: 2016
This article draws on data from a larger study: a multi-site ethnography of the networks established by people confined in female prisons in the cities of São Paulo and Barcelona. Focusing on ethnographic data from my fieldwork in Barcelona, I analyze the displacements created by transnational drug trade networks which involve sex work and marriage in Spain. Brazilian prisoners in Barcelona (accused of ‘crimes against public health’ ― involvement in the sale and transportation of cocaine) create aid networks involving the ‘owners’ of apartment-based prostitution and trade relations with men who are also prisoners in Catalonian penitentiaries. These entanglements forged between transnational drug trade, sex trade and aid networks, as seen from the carceral and migration trajectories of the Brazilians imprisoned in Catalonia, allow us to analyze how through plots produced between (il)legal markets and networks, Brazilian women imprisoned in Catalonia reframe their foreign national prison experience. I argue that in transnational contexts social markers such as class, race, gender, sexuality and nationality are managed by the subjects in their relationships. Hence, the analysis exposed in this article emphasizes the possibilities of agency managed by Brazilian women arrested in Barcelona facing the Catalan prison system as well as the way these women rearrange their conditions as ‘imprisoned foreigners’ and their prospects of freedom.
Keywords: Brazilian prisoners, Barcelona, drug trade, sex markets, affect
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