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Dance in ChainsImprisonment in the Modern World$
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Padraic Kenney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375745

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375745.001.0001

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Night and Fog

Night and Fog

The Regime and Its Captives

(p.36) 2 Night and Fog
Dance in Chains

Padraic Kenney

Oxford University Press

What do states do with the opponents they have imprisoned? This chapter explores the treatment of prisoners as a way to understand political incarceration. For political prisoners, arbitrary and uncertain rules replace rights in the twentieth century. Prisoners see rules as capricious, but the capriciousness undermines prisoners’ sense of themselves and of their fate. Prison denies ordinary sensations and strips prisoners of their identity, even of their humanity. It instills uncertainty through the use of informers, purposeless labor, and torture. Examples in the chapter include Nazi Germany, Poland in the 1930s and in the Stalinist era, British Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and apartheid South Africa.

Keywords:   informer, torture, prison labor, Nazi Germany, Stalinism, Poland, Northern Ireland, apartheid, South Africa, Robben Island

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