Adam Kluge

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Criminology (2023 cohort)

My research interests exist at the intersection of prisoners’ families research, penal governance, and the nuanced ways in which the kin of offenders experience state-sanctioned stigmatisation following their relative’s offence. In my DPhil, I offer a theoretical reconsideration of stigma as a political tool operated by both state and local actors to systematically shame the families of offenders via criminal legal mechanisms. I further contend that the role of the offender’s kin can be mapped onto broader political arguments around social othering and state power, providing a novel consideration of the offender’s family as an active political subject. Relying upon existing social and political theory, this proposed research project seeks to restore a sense of autonomy to those communities whose collateral experience of the carceral state uniquely––and damagingly––constructs their perceptions of society and self. I intend to rely upon ethnographic inquiry in American metropoles and England to qualify and clarify the following research questions: How are families belonging to minority identity groups being policed in the domestic space, especially following the offence of a kin member? When does the criminal legal process begin, and who can be considered a ‘carceral citizen’? What impact does the stigmatisation of these families have upon these individuals’ internal and external perceptions of self? Ultimately, my research endeavours to offer a novel reframing of the victim-perpetrator binary that has existed at the heart of criminological knowledge production for decades.

Prior to starting the DPhil, I completed the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Oxford (Distinction). My master’s dissertation was awarded the Routledge Prize for Best Dissertation in my graduating cohort. During my time at Oxford, I provided legal aid to refugees seeking asylum while incarcerated at HMP Huntercombe. In addition, I worked as a researcher supporting the local charity Children Heard and Seen. I hold a dual BA in Political Science and History from Columbia University, where I graduated with interdepartmental honours and conducted research with the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Vera Institute of Justice. My DPhil is generously supported by the ESRC and Lincoln’s Kingsgate Scholarship.