Doing (with) Time

Dealing with Indefinite Incarceration in Switzerland

  • Irene Marti Anthropology Institute, University of Neuchâtel
Keywords: indefinite imprisonment, uncertainty, prison life, experiences of time, Switzerland


This contribution provides insight into the experiences of time of prisoners sentenced to indefi nite incarceration. It is argued here that in contrast to prisoners serving fi nite sentences, for these prisoners it is no longer mainly about doing time in prison but also about (actively) doing with time, since the time in prison becomes (most probably) their remaining lifetime. Moreover, to concentrate on the present instead of their uncertain future helps them to ease the pains of indefi nite imprisonment; however, this mode of being with time requires acceptance of their situation and to let go of their former selves.

Author Biography

Irene Marti, Anthropology Institute, University of Neuchâtel

Irene Marti, MA, studied social anthropology and sociology at the Universities of Basel and Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Since 2013 she is a member of the Prison Research Group (PRG) at the University of Bern, Switzerland ( Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Neuchâtel and is working as a research assistant at the Institute of Penal Law and Criminology at the University of Bern.

How to Cite
Marti, Irene. 2017. “Doing (with) Time: Dealing With Indefinite Incarceration in Switzerland”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 22 (May):68-77.
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