UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Prison limits : intersections of culture and imprisonment in twenty-first century Spain Barnard, Sara Jenny


This thesis explores the presence of prisons in contemporary Spanish culture, investigating both their portrayal and the place of cultural projects in current and former prisons. I consider how the selected films, written texts, sites of former prisons, and performance art shape attitudes about punishment and its alternatives. The first part focuses on portrayals of the prison experience, as fictionalized on screen in Azuloscurocasinegro (Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, 2006) and Celda 211 (Daniel Monzón, 2009) and as witnessed in writing and theatre work by prisoners, through the work of Elena Cánovas and Teatro Yeses, and Andrés Rabadán’s Historias desde la cárcel (2003). The second part moves into a discussion of transformations – firstly exploring former prison sites (in Carabanchel, Segovia, and Palencia), and then considering how imprisonment is represented through performance art in the work of Abel Azcona and Marcel·lí Antúnez Roca. Through mapping the prison and its relation to contemporary Spanish cultural production, I consider how the presence and portrayal of prisons shapes perceptions and experiences of exclusion and belonging in Spain today, engaging with the wider issue of movement, immigration, and borders. Using notions of ‘borderland’ and liminality to interrogate points of encounter between prisons and culture, this project looks for ways that these intersections can offer potential for movement, dialogue, and connection.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International