Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Carceral domesticity as containment of troubled families in Santiago, Chile


Angel Aedo


This article deals with the ways in which populations in prison-neighbourhood circuits are policed, managed, and contained in Santiago, Chile. It draws attention to how the safeguarding of social order and security policy is intertwined with the reproduction of carceral domesticities among low-income households. Building on ethnographic research conducted in two stages between 2017 and 2022 with practitioners of crime prevention programmes and the ‘problem’ families targeted by such initiatives, the article addresses carceral domesticity as containment of troubled families. It shows how such containment involves a project of subjectivation centred on women to enforce a gendered family model by engaging state programmes, psychosocial manuals, and prevention practitioners. It focuses on security and enclosure mechanisms in domestic spaces at work through a grammar of care and prevention. By examining the pitfalls that carceral domesticity encounters in everyday domestic life, the article sheds light on the productivity of resistances to enable spaces of autonomy in times of economic crisis and social uprising in Chile.