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Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid

Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid

$35.99 (P)

  • Date Published: October 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521007825

$ 35.99 (P)
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  • Robben Island prison in South Africa held thousands of black political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, who opposed apartheid. This study reconstructs the inmates' resistance strategies to demonstrate how they created a political and social order behind bars. Although survival was their primary goal, challenging apartheid was their ultimate objective. Robben Island was continually transformed by its political inmates into a site of resistance, despite being designed to repress.

    • 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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    Reviews & endorsements

    "[T]his book is much more substantial than any previous treatment of Robben Island as a place of incarceration of political prisoners. It is also unique in its simultaneous treatment of the prison as a place of punishment, of intended demoralization and isolation from the world, and also of the counter efforts of the prisoners. [T]he book remains a landmark contribution and deserves very serious study by all interested not only in Robben Island and penology, but the evolution of the struggle against apartheid in general." Raymond Suttner, University of South Africa, Pretoria, H-Net

    "The acid test of the quality of any book is that it stumulates the reader to think hard about the arguments made and to ask additional questions about the issues raised. There is no doubt that Buntman succeeds mightily in this score. This is a superb book, both substantively and methodologically, and it deserves a readership far beyond those with a substantitive interest in South Africa." The Law and Politics Book Review

    "...Buntman has written an important book. She has opened Robben Island, illustrated how the prisoners there were able to survive as long as they did, and shown how, despite their incarceration, they played an important role in the creation of the new South Africa." International Third World Studies Journal and Review, David T. Jervis

    "Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid is an important book not only for its theoretical and substantive insights, but also because it preserves and contextualizes the stories of so many Robben Island "graduates" and those who were involved in the prison system on the other side of the bars." African Studies Review

    "...fascinating and highly original..." Foreign Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521007825
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • 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.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Mandela and Anti-Apartheid
  • Author

    Fran Lisa Buntman, George Washington University, Washington DC

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