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Look Inside Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid

Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid
African Edition

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  • Author: Fran Buntman, George Washington University, Washington DC
  • Date Published: December 2003
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521537681

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About the Authors
  • Robben Island prison in South Africa held thousands of black political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, who opposed apartheid. This book reconstructs the inmates' resistance strategies to show how these men created a political and social order behind bars. Survival was their first goal; challenging apartheid was their true aim. So although Robben Island was designed to repress, it was continually transformed by its political inmates into a site of resistance. The book theorizes that, where material conditions permit, the most far-reaching and effective forms of resistance involve constructive political action which seeks to remake existing power relationships. This theory is demonstrated in three focuses of the book: the activism of Robben Islanders, the effects of political prisoner resistance on the apartheid state machinery, and in comparative cases which illustrate various international instances of political prisoners shaping both prisons and political orders.

    • Based on over 100 interviews of former Robben Island political prisoners and their captors
    • Carefully researched, politically balanced, interdisciplinary work
    • Identifies an important new area of scholarship–prison politics and how it shapes democratic struggles and regimes
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521537681
    • length: 352 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: prison as a source of politics
    2. Politics and prison: a background
    3: Resistance for survival
    4. Resistance beyond survival
    5. Prisoner politics and organization on Robben Island
    6. Debates and disagreements
    7. Influencing South African politics
    8. Political imprisonment and the state
    9. Theorizing islander resistance
    10. Beyond Robben Island: comparisons and conclusion.

  • Author

    Fran Buntman, George Washington University, Washington DC

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