Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Archaeology

First Advisor

Livia K. Stone


Through ethnographic research with a small organization, Jareth, that helps women transition from prison to the community, this work unpacks discourses of empowerment within reentry organizations. I argue that Jareth’s empowerment discourse works on a pragmatic level to help women become employed but it does not work well to completely meet the needs of women offenders because businesses do not want to employ former prisoners and because the general public thinks that prison can meet all of women's needs. I also argue that empowerment defines 'power' and dependence' in particular ways - through appropriate and inappropriate forms of power and dependence. Further, I argue that Jareth is re-articulating what power means through an 'empowerment' discourse that casts women as powerless victims, language that seems more aimed at the larger community than to the women themselves. Also, empowerment and practices of subjectification are linked together – Jareth’s empowerment discourse reflects an important shift in the reconfiguration of governmental methods that gives women specific power, professionalism, which is expected to be used through self-regulation within the market. Strategies of empowerment then meet political goals of neoliberal governmentality.


Imported from ProQuest Miller_ilstu_0092N_10716.pdf


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