Speaker: Francesca Pilotto, visiting PhD researcher from the University of Bologna.


The seminar presents the results of an ethnographic research that investigates the experiences of motherhood and childhood lived by detained women and their children within the Institute for Attenuated Custody for Detained Mothers (ICAM in Italian) and the group home in Milan. The research focuses on the relationship between detained mothers and the school context attended by their children, to understand how the experiences of motherhood are constructed in the interaction between detention facilities and schools. The case study has been chosen as the research strategy to explore the specificity of the detention condition within its real-life context and to analyze the contemporary phenomenon of motherhood in jail, which is currently at the center of Italian public and political debate. The research is based on the outputs of semi-structured interviews and focus groups with the educational staff of detention facilities and schools, to grasp the perspectives of the different institutional subjects involved. Despite the persistence of selective processes that condition access to the field of the penal contexts, the in-depth interviews conducted with mothers have represented a valuable tool to generate situated knowledge of the prison context, delve into the biographies of the women inhabiting them, and show how mothers stress the importance of their role as parents.


This event has been organised by our colleagues Dr Cara Jardine, University of Strathclyde and Dr Rebecca Foster, Edinburgh Napier University.