Nicole Janine van Zyl

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Western Cape, U. of the

Grant number

Gr. 10162

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

van Zyl, Nicole (Western Cape, U. of the) "Exit wounds: Colonial legacies of subject formation in present-day parole in South Africa"

This project proposes a legal historical ethnography of the liberal legal institution of parole as a site to explore the assimilation of colonial subjectivities into post-apartheid governance and social relations. It poses the question of how the institution mediates between the universalist liberal aspirations of law, and continued racial oppression and hierarchy in post-apartheid South Africa. It is concerned with the ways in which the process of forming colonial subjects through criminal law manifests in the evaluation of fitness for release – or reformation – when exiting incarceration. By situating its examination on the ‘exit’ point of incarceration, it shifts the view point of previous studies of colonial subject formation that look at creation at the entry point: criminalisation and conviction. It proposes a two-phase investigation. Firstly, it will engage colonial and apartheid archives for records of early release and parole. Secondly, it undertakes participant-observation of parole board hearings in two locations, supplemented by interviews with parole board members, community corrections officers, NGO employees, and parolees.